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Palos Verdes Peninsula


Palos Verdes Peninsula

For the mountain range on this peninsula, see Palos Verdes Hills.
Palos Verdes
Palos Verdes
Country  United States of America
State  California
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Los Angeles
 • Type Council-Manager
Time zone PST
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC)
Area code(s) 310, 424

Palos Verdes is a group of coastal cities in the Palos Verdes Hills on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, within southwestern Los Angeles County in the U.S. state of California. The Palos Verdes Peninsula cities include Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates.

The peninsula - which protrudes out into the Pacific Ocean - is an affluent community known for its dramatic ocean and city views from the Palos Verdes Hills, distinguished schools,[1] extensive horse trails,[2] and high home prices.[3]


Native Americans

The peninsula was the homeland of the Tongva-Gabrieliño Native Americans people for thousands of years. In other areas of the Los Angeles Basin archeological sites date back 8,000 years.[4][5] Their first contact with Europeans in 1542 with João Cabrilho (Juan Cabrillo), the Portuguese explorer who also was the first to write of them. Chowigna and Suangna were two Tongva settlements of many in the peninsula area, which was also a departure point for their rancherías on the Channel Islands.

Spanish and Mexican era

In 1846 José Dolores Sepúlveda and José Loreto received a Mexican land grant from Alta Governor Pío Pico for a parcel from the huge original 1784 Spanish land grant Rancho San Pedro of Manuel Dominguez.[6] It was named Rancho de los Palos Verdes, or "ranch of the green sticks", which was used primarily as a cattle ranch.[7] It was also a whaling station in the mid 19th century, albeit only for a brief period.

American era

By 1882 ownership of the land had passed from the Sepulveda through various mortgage holders to Jotham Bixby of Rancho Los Cerritos, who leased the land to Japanese farmers. After the start of the 20th century most of Bixby's land was sold to a consortium of New York investors who created The Palos Verdes Project and began marketing land on the peninsula for small horse ranches and residential communities. One of the New York investors who purchased the land from the Bixby family in 1913 that contributed extensively to the area was Frank A. Vanderlip. The new community was organized and landscaped by the Olmsted Brothers and in their planning, they dedicated a quarter of the land area to permanent open undeveloped space, which gave the city its unique rural characteristic and culture of scenic beauty.[8]


Areas of commerce include historic Mediterranean Revival style Malaga Cove Plaza, the Promenade on the Peninsula, and Lunada Bay Plaza. Smaller shopping centers include the Peninsula Center, Dominos, and The Village.

The largest peninsula commercial district is in Rolling Hills Estates, with many shopping centers including The Promenade on the Peninsula with a megaplex movie theater and an ice rink.


The Palos Verdes Peninsula Transit Authority provides bus service within and to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The Palos Verdes Peninsula is within 30 minutes of both Los Angeles International Airport and Long Beach Airport, which together provide access to most of the United States aboard all major carriers.


The Rolling Hills Country Day School, adjacent to the Botanic Garden, offers a private K-8 education. In summary, there are 11 elementary schools, 3 intermediate schools, and 3 high schools located on the peninsula.


The Peninsula is served by the Palos Verdes Library District which operates the:

  • Peninsula Center Library
  • Miraleste Library
  • Malaga Cove Library- on the National Historical Register


By 1992 many wealthier Korean Americans moved to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Rancho Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates, and Rolling Hills Estates were three of the five cities in the South Bay that had the largest increases in ethnic Koreans from 1980 to 1990.[12]

Parks and recreation

The area is frequented by runners, hikers, horseback riders, bird watchers, surfers, scuba divers, fishermen, and bicyclists. The area is home to several golf courses and country clubs. In addition, nude sunbathers formerly frequented Sacreds Cove (or "Smugglers Cove") until the city of Rancho Palos Verdes enacted a 1994 ordinance that ended such use of that beach.

The infamous Palos Verdes surf spots have been in the spotlight many times over issues of "localism". The most notorious surf spot for localism in Palos Verdes is Lunada Bay, which can hold any winter swell and has been known to rival Sunset Beach, Hawaii on a big day. Localism in Palos Verdes reached a turning point in 2001 when a civil rights lawsuit was filed after a particularly violent confrontation with Hermosa Beach surfers.[14] Surveillance cameras were placed in the surfing area but were later removed.[15]

The Trump National Golf Club is a Donald Trump venture with a golf course on the Ocean Trails cliffs. The 18th hole of the prior golf course fell victim to a landslide caused by a leak in the sanitary pipes underneath it. Trump has been heavily criticized for poorly managing the property, including dismissing employees en masse, failing to keep it in business, and upsetting locals with unnecessary and/or unapproved construction. In the summer of 2006, the Trump Organization illegally erected a 70 foot flagpole but was allowed to retain it after a City Council vote.[16]

The Marineland of the Pacific site near Portuguese Bend is currently home of Terranea, a luxury oceanfront resort.[17]

There are numerous nature reserves in Palos Verdes, which attribute to the area's unique natural property. Palos Verdes Estates Shoreline Preserve, Agua Amarga Reserve, and Portuguese Bend Reserve. The reserves contain costal sage scrubs habitats, a community of fragrant and drought resistant shrubs and flowering plants. In August 2009, wildfire burned approximately 165-acres of the Portuguese Bend Reserve. As a result, in recent years, restoration has been done to reinstall native plants and animals to the area.[18]

Notable places

  • The Wayfarers Chapel, a transparent glass chapel in a Redwood forest, was designed in 1951 by the renowned architect and landscape architect Lloyd Wright. It is under the stewardship of the Swedenborgian Church, a well-known landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, and overlooking the ocean at the western entrance of Portuguese Bend.
  • Portuguese Bend is one of the most geologically unstable areas in the world. Constant shifting of the soil (approximately 1/3 of an inch a day) and rock slides mean that Palos Verdes Drive South, the main road through the bend, is under constant repair.
  • Point Vicente Lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Point Fermin lighthouse in San Pedro.
  • Lunada Bay on the north western edge of the peninsula is a famed surf spot, noted for its large swells, at times comparable to Hawaii's Sunset Beach.
  • Korean Bell of Friendship is located near Point Fermin in San Pedro.
  • Marineland of the Pacific is the location of the former aquatic theme park on the coast.
    The area where Marineland once stood subsequently served as an outdoor set for commercials, film productions, and, in 1996, the MTV Beach House. Fox filmed some scenes of its teen drama, The OC, at locations in and around Palos Verdes.[19]
  • La Venta Inn is located along Via Del Monte and is a famed wedding and reception setting, but most notably, it had one the most beautiful panaroma view of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean beach line.


  • The wreck of the Dominator, a freighter that ran aground in 1961, was for years a rather bizarre attraction for those willing to hike down the cliffs to the shoreline. Very little is left of the ship today.
  • In 2006, the 45 foot cabin cruiser Lady Hawk sank 2 miles from the Palos Verdes coast due to an engine fire.[20]

In popular culture

  • The novels The Tribes of Palos Verdes by author Joy Nicholson, and The Mark of Conte by Sonia Levitin, describe life from a teenager's perspective in Palos Verdes.
  • Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean films were partly photographed on and off the coast of Palos Verdes Peninsula. A tent city for production was constructed in the Redondo Beach Marina. The Black Pearl and several production vessels were seen on the waters daily as were helicopters filming for overhead shots.
  • Overhead shots were used for the fictional town of Costa Verde in Heroes, in the episode "I Am Become Death".
  • In a 2010 episode of South Park, the character of Towelie went to a Rehab center in Rancho Palos Verdes.
  • In 1962, the "Big W" scenes from the ensemble comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World starring Sid Caesar, Spencer Tracy, Ethel Merman, Phil Silvers and others were filmed on the grounds of a private estate locally known as "Portuguese Point" near Abalone Cove shoreline park.
  • MTV's sitcom Awkward. is set in Palos Verdes.
  • Catcher Billy Brubaker, the character played by Matthew Lillard in baseball movie Summer Catch, is listed as being a native of Palos Verdes.
  • In the 1994 film The Stoned Age, the main characters reluctantly attend a party in Palos Verdes hosted by Muldoon (Jake Busey).
  • In the 2008 film Step Brothers, a scene depicting a Catalina Island wine mixer was actually filmed on land at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes.
  • In the 1992 film Reservoir Dogs, the character "Nice Guy" refers to the Los Angeles neighborhood of Ladera Heights as "the black Palos Verdes".

Notable residents


See also


Further reading

  • Patryla, Jim (2005). A Photographic Journey Back To Marineland of the Pacific. Lulu Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4116-7130-0.

External links

  • Template:-inline
  • website
  • Palos Verdes Daily Photo blog website
  • website
  • website
  • Marymount College website

Coordinates: 33°45′31″N 118°20′45″W / 33.7586472222°N 118.345844444°W / 33.7586472222; -118.345844444de:Liste der Stadtteile von Los Angeles es:Barrios y regiones de Los Ángeles fr:Liste des quartiers de Los Angeles

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