Downey: The Cradle of the Cosmic Age

Published by KCET on June 13, 2019

Situated between the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers, the land where Downey sits has always been very fertile. The settlement of Downey was established in 1873 and it remained an agricultural area all the way until the Second World War. John G. Downey is considered one of the pioneers of the modern subdivision; he subdivided 96 acres of land in the 1870s and started advertising the property as a prime spot for homesteads and vineyards. Downey's promotional material listed the land for $10 an acre. The arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the mid-1870s gradually accelerated the development, but by all accounts, Downey still remained largely rural, with orchards, dairy farms, ranches, dirt roads, and small homes well into the 20th Century.

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