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Whittier (California)


Dec 15, 2021

Whittier is a city in Los Angeles County in SouthernCalifornia. It was founded by Quakers in 1887 and incorporated in 1898.

Historic clock on the National Bank of Whittier Building at Philadelphia Street and Greenleaf Avenue

Map of Whittier (California)

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Although bordered on the west and north by freeways, Whittier is harder to get to by car than most of the Gateway Cities. This gives parts of the city a secluded feel, but what residents gain in peace and quiet they pay for in long commutes.

From Downtown L.A. take the Pomona Freeway (60) east. Merge onto the San Gabriel River Freeway (605) south and exit at Whittier Boulevard. Turn left at the off ramp onto Whittier Boulevard. (Exiting at Beverly Boulevard East is faster, but it’s more confusing.)

Whittier can be reached by Montebello Bus Lines 10, 40 and 50 from the West, Metro Line 270, Foothill Transit lines 274 and 285 from the North, and Metro Lines 120 and 270 from the South.

To get to Uptown Whittier, the city’s historic business district, turn left onto Hadley Street and then right onto Greenleaf Avenue. The majority of Uptown’s small businesses are on Greenleaf between Hadley and Mar Vista Streets, but you’ll find other shops and restaurants a few blocks east and west of Greenleaf.

If locally owned small businesses aren’t your thing, continue to head south on Greenleaf and turn left onto Whittier Boulevard. At the corner of Whittier Boulevard and Painter Avenue, you’ll find The Quad, a formerly indoor mall. After years of being a ghost town, it was completely redone after the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake. It’s now like every other strip mall in suburbia, which means there’s plenty of parking and chain restaurants.

Still haven’t had your fill of cookie-cutter corporate America? Continue southeast on Whittier Boulevard until you come to the Whittwood Town Center. Formerly called the Whittwood Mall, this outdoor strip mall was originally an outdoor strip mall. Following the trend of the time, they enclosed it in the late ’70s. The roofed part of the mall ran from the eastern entrance of Sears (formerly the Broadway) to the western entrance of JC Penney. Where Target now stands used to be more parking, a gym, and a tire shop. After years of empty storefronts, a plan was hatched to (are you sensing a trend here?) tear down the indoor part of the mall.

Bus lines 270, Montebello 10 and Montebello 50 serve uptown Whittier. Line 270 continues south on Santa Fe Springs Road, while Lines 10 and 50 continue south on Painter Avenue.

The Jonathan Bailey House
  • 33.984675-118.0318151 The Jonathan Bailey House, 13421 E. Camilla St (East of Painter Avenue. Exit Beverly Blvd East, right on Painter Ave, left on Camilla), +1 562 945-3871. Su 13:30PM. Built in 1860, the Jonathan Bailey House was the first residence in Whittier and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
  • 33.993727-118.0710071 Pio Pico State Historic Park, 6003 Pioneer Blvd (At the Whittier Boulevard exit of the 605 Freeway), +1 562 945-3871. Su 13:30PM. An old adobe that was the former residence of Pio Pico, one of the last Mexican governors of California 
  • 33.979315-118.0375731 Rocky Cola Cafe, 6757 Greenleaf Ave, +1 562 907-3377. The parade scene in the final episode of The Wonder Years was filmed at the corner of Greenleaf Avenue and Philadelphia Street. Kevin (Fred Savage) is standing under the awning of Rocky Cola Cafe. He crosses Philadelphia to meet Paul (Josh Saviano) as a parade goes by. Parades actually do go down Greenleaf, but they’re usually Christmas parades. 
  • 33.978981-118.0371861 National Bank of Whittier Building, 13002 Philadelphia St. Across the street from Rocky Cola Cafe. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was home to Richard Nixon’s first law office. 
  • 33.979317-118.0410171 Whittier Museum, 6755 Newlin Ave (Exit Whittier Blvd, left on Whittier Blvd, left on Philadelphia Street, at corner of Newlin and Philadelphia), +1 562 945-3871. Operated by the Whittier Historical Society. It contains exhibits on the early history of Whittier, and contains archives on Whittier history. 
  • 33.979786-118.0440781 Whittier High School, 12417 E. Philadelphia St. Remember Back to the Future? Well, the high-school scenes of Hill Valley H.S. in 1955 and 1985, including the exteriors for the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, were filmed at Whittier High School. The interior shots for the band audition was filmed at the McCambridge Recreation Center in Burbank and the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance was filmed at the United Methodist Church in Hollywood in Back to the Future. WHS’ Vic Lopez Auditorium hosts not only Whittier High’s drama department, but also concerts of the Rio Hondo Symphony and other community events. 

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