La Verne is a small city in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains that is often described as a close-knit community, a place that, like its neighbor to the east, Claremont, also takes some of its mood and character from the educational institution at its center, the University of La Verne.
With about 31,000 residents, La Verne has a diverse population, ranging from young families and school-age children to senior citizens. The city has a small municipal airfiled, Brackett Airport, and is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles.
Students are served by several private schools at the secondary level – including Damien High School and Lutheran High School –as well as by Bonita High School (which is part of the Bonita Unified School District).
A visitor to the La Verne area in the late 19th century would certainly have found a different town at the time – then it was called “Lordsburg,” named for landowner Isaac Wilson Lord who jockeyed with the Santa Fe Railroad to entice newcomers to come to Southern California and live in his little village. At the time of its founding, in 1891, the University of La Verne was then known as Lordsburg College.
The current city, incorporated in 1906, took its name from French words suggesting a verdant landscape and a springlike quality – and, like other communities along these foothills, the city was planted with orchards of grapefruit, orange, lemon and other citrus that contributed to a booming local citrus industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Today the city accommodates both residences and businesses, with city planning devoted to a careful consideration of the way retail and commercial activity meshes with the small-town atmosphere and college campus flavor of the city.