California Fool's Gold -- Exploring the City of Industry

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 25, 2010 11:31am | Post a Comment
City of Industry Panorama

This Los Angeles County community blog is about City of Industry. To vote for more LA County Communites, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles Neighborhoods, vote here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.

 Map of City of Industry
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of City of Industry

Industry, as with Commerce (which is often referred to as "City of Commerce"), is often referred to as "City of Industry" to distinguish if from the common noun, "industry." Perhaps too it has the subtle effect of arguing for Industry's legitimacy as a municipality (and thus to hopefully disassociate it from "phantom cities" like Bradbury, Hidden Hills, Rolling Hills, Vernon, and the City of Commerce.) 

Industry is a strangely shaped "city" in the south end of the San Gabriel Valley surrounded by the communities of Whittier Narrows, South El Monte, El Monte, Baldwin Park, West Puente Valley, La Puente, Valinda, South San Jose Hills, Walnut, Diamond Bar, Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights and North Whittier. It almost completely surrounds Avocado Heights.

Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum

As with most all of the San Gabriel Valley, Industry was inhabited by the Tongva, who were then displaced by the Spaniards, which was followed by the region becoming part of Mexico. One of the few vestiges from that era is the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, an historical landmark and the burial sight of Pío Pico, the last Mexican governor of Alta California. Industry was incorporated in 1957 in a move in part designed to prevent surrounding cities from annexing the land for tax revenue and as a shelter for those wishing to operate without the strict zoning laws of a typical city. It also allows a very small group of people -- in many cases related to one another -- to operate a municipality more like a corporation than a typical city. 


Most recently, Industry has been designated the sight of the future Los Angeles Stadium, which if built would mean return American football to the Los Angeles County. Above is an artist's conception. Apparently the artist also conceives of the surrounding warehouses being obliterated and replaced with large, well maintained lawns.

Befitting its name, Industry is almost entirely industrial (92%) and just a little commercial (8%). The last census found that only 219 people even call Industry home -- it's not called "The City of Residents," after all. Most are members of city council or their friends living in city-owned properties and rented below market rate (but off-limits to outsiders). Elections for city council are almost never held. The tiny population of Industrians are roughly 62% Latino (mostly Mexican), 24% white (mostly Danish) and 9% Asian. On paper Industry's political situation might resemble that of North Korea but it is an open city, welcoming visitors and explorers, so explore it I did.


Interestingly, Industry produces about 35,000 to 50,000 tons of pre-consumer food waste daily, mostly cheese by-products and imperfect tortillas. In a novel solution, the city's garbage trucks run on cheese by-products. They could call it, therefore, "City of Cheese Waste," but there's more to Industry than curds and whey. 

For starters, there's an exposed area of rock that locals call Fossil Hill, located behind the Colima Road McDonald's in Stoner Creek. I have no pictures of it, unfortunately, as I haven't yet visited it.

There are quite a few bars and gentleman's clubs in Industry. In one tiny shopping center one can find a tavern, a gentlemen's club, a "bar * lounge," and a pijiu wu (Taiwanese pub). Popular drinking holes include Opium Pub ($25 all you can drink), Dream Lounge and Vip Lounge.

Pacific Palms Resort

For those who venture to Industry and need to spend the night (perhaps having drunk all one can drink), there's The Pacific Palms ResortThe golf course at the resort was featured in a memorable scene in the cult classic Joel "sexual outlaw" Schumacher film, Falling Down.

Popular restaurants in the area tend to reflect the surrounding areas more than the local population but with over fifty in the city, there's considerable variety. Some of the more popular places to eat are Roda Viva, King's Palace, Curry House, Frisco's Carhop, Jurassic, Iguanas Ranas, La Kaffa, Little Tokyo, Shabu Shabu, Sakura, and Smile Express.

The headquarters for, Emtek Products, and Engineering Model Associates/Plastruct are all located in Industry. The most Amoeba-relevant business (since it has something to do with music culture) is Hot Topic
Puente Hills Mall

The aging Puente Hills Mall, built in 1974, appeared as Twin Pines Mall (and later Lone Pine Mall) in the film, Back to the Future.

Nowadays, the mall is pretty empty except for the AMC theater, so the mall's owners ensure people have to pass by the remaining stores by not allowing entrance directly into the theater. Nearby, Speed Zone was featured in Kevin Smith's Clerks II, Summer School, and 1979's Van Nuys Blvd. The final fight scene was filmed there, in a now demolished Ikea.

McDonalds Production Center

One of the most interesting businesses in Industry is the McDonald's that's only used for commercials and films, such as Mac & Me.

Industry is also home of Vineland Drive-In, one of two remaining drive-in theaters in the Southland.

Brea Canyon Rd & Old Ranch Rd

A phone booth (no longer there) at Brea Canyon and Old Ranch Road was featured in the film, Halloween.

Kern's of California

The factory showdown in the film Terminator was shot at Kern's Of California. It was there that Linda Hamilton's character uttered one of the most squirm inducing, corny one-liners in film history...

You're terminated, fucker.
Industry has  also been a filming location for NWA and AWS matches, Raspberry & Lavender, Street Fury: Inferno, Suicide Kings, Bye Bye Love, Fun with Dick and Jane and American Pie. On a final note, As far as mom & pop video stores, there's John's Video Place.



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