If you ‘ve ever watched the 2003 motion picture “Seabiscuit,” the story of a champion American racehorse, then you caught a brief glimpse of the city of Arcadia.
Arcadia, another in the “foothill chain” of cities along the San Gabriels, is home to Santa Anita Park, the horse racetrack where Seabiscuit picked up many of his victories in the 1930s. The “sport of kings” is a proud part of the heritage of this city located just 13 miles from downtown Los Angeles along the 210 Foothill Freeway.
The city has many other reasons to be proud: In 2010, Arcadia was picked for the list of “Best Places to Raise Your Kids” by Bloomberg Businessweek. The city is also known for the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.
With so much lush greenery around, then, the picturesque name “Arcadia” was well-chosen by the founders of the city, which was incorporated in 1903.
Part of that founding is thanks to the notorious real estate speculator Elias “Lucky” Baldwin, who acquired the property of a Mexican rancho that would eventually become modern Arcadia. Baldwin envisioned the city as a resort town for visitors (part of his original site was jointly bought by Los Angeles and California to create the arboretum), and today the city is a destination for many seeking an idyllic suburb lifestyle with a gorgeous view of the Gabrielino mountain range.
School districts include Arcadia Unified School District, as well as numerous private schools; Methodist Hospital on West Huntington Drive also features an acclaimed school of nursing.
This city of 53,000 also enjoys a thriving Asian population, as well as a robust retail shopping industry: its centerpiece is the Westfield Santa Anita mall (adjacent to the racetrack). Along with access to the 210 Freeway, a planned extension of the Metro Gold Line light rail will give Arcadia residents more commuting options when a station stop is opened in 2014. "Lucky" Baldwin would surely be proud.
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