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About Palos Verdes

Residents enjoy a temperate climate enhanced by the green of its many parks, the blue of the surrounding ocean, and the crystal clean air. In this serenely beautiful setting, residents pursue their interests in the arts, recreation, philanthropy and education while having access to the bustle of Los Angeles. The four cities that make up the Peninsula offer distinctive and diverse geographic choices to suit every lifestyle and provide a wholesome, relaxed environment. A home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula is a sound investment. Nurturing a strong sense of community, proactive and involved citizens zealously guard open space from over-development to assure harmonious limited growth and preservation of gracious country and suburban living. A strong sense of family unifies the community.

The climate allows day to day comfortable living and year-around unrestricted use of recreational facilities.

The rich and colorful heritage of Palos Verdes begins with the tribes of Gabrieliño Indians who originally lived on the peninsula and who were first described by the Spanish explorer Cabrillo in 1542. The area was taken under Spanish rule by the armies under Cortez and remained under Spanish rule, virtually undisturbed, until Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1822. In 1827, the Governor of Mexican California rewarded Don Dolores Sepulveda for his military services by giving him a land grant of the "Rancho de los Palos Verdes" (Ranch of the Green Trees). The Sepulveda family operated a flourishing cattle ranch until drought and boundary litigation resulted in the great rancho being awarded to Jotham Bixby. As land values grew and it was no longer possible to continue cattle ranching, Bixby leased the land to Japanese farmers for cultivation of flowers, vegetables and grains.

In 1913 a group of New York investors purchased most of the land, intending to develop a community of large estates for the wealthy. It was not until 1921, however, that John A. Vanderlip, Sr., one of the New York investors, and E. G. Lewis, a real estate promotor, founded the Palos Verdes Estates Project. In 1924, the first houses appeared and the rancho, through the course of time, was divided into the present-day cities of Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, and Rancho Palos Verdes.

A move to the Peninsula ensures a safe, clean environment, close enough to the second largest city in the nation, Los Angeles, with all the jobs and big city opportunities that are available and yet worlds away from the fast-paced and over-crowded feel of the big city. Here one can choose to live in a semi-rural setting in one of several beautiful, unique communities with others who share the same commitment to the Peninsula's special way of life. All essential public services and facilities are local. The gentle ocean breezes continually keep the air free from smog and moderate the temperature. The schools are excellent with a fine public school system as well as private and parochial schools. Though the Peninsula is as remote as one may wish, access to Los Angeles International Airport and major Los Angeles business, sporting and cultural activities is less than an hour away on the freeway network. Long Beach, Los Angeles Harbor and the World Cruise Center are only 30 minutes away.

The Palos Verdes Peninsula has rightfully been called a well-kept secret, an idyllic bit of paradise so close and yet so far from big city life.

Welcome to our beautiful Peninsula.

Each suburban, residential community on the Peninsula enjoys its own special environment. Median annual household income on the Peninsula is among the highest in the nation. The schools have consistently provided excellent educational opportunities for the Peninsula children. The quality of the programs is a unifying attraction that draws many people to the area. The population of approximately 75,000 is distributed among four cities and two unincorporated areas that have evolved with distinctive characteristics shaped by the terrain and the time and circumstances of development. Limited access to the Peninsula has led to "good-neighbor" communities that have fostered close relationships and sharing of facilities and services. A wide range of commercial and professional services is available on the Peninsula and in neighboring South Bay cities. Commercial development on the Peninsula is controlled by strict zoning codes to preserve the rural, suburban way of life.

On the western side of the Peninsula reaching down to the shore of the Pacific Ocean, the city has a strong commitment to protect its unique character. Upon entering Palos Verdes Estates, the visitor is treated to a dramatic change from congested traffic into a pastoral setting with sweeping views of the ocean. Over a quarter of the city's 3,038 acres is permanently protected as parkland and maintained in its natural state to preserve the rural atmosphere. The Palos Verdes Homes Association interprets and enforces protective restrictions on building sites of which only a few vacant lots remain to be developed. With a population of approximately 14,000, Palos Verdes Estates maintains a preference for Mediterranean-style architecture, exemplified by the quaint and elegant architecture of Malaga Cove Plaza, which has been the setting of many movie and television scenes. Homes located above Malaga Cove with views of Santa Monica Bay are some of the most sought after in Southern California. The entire city is composed of "custom" homes with diversity in style, size and price. Soaring appreciation in Peninsula property values over the years mirrors the desirability of living in this extraordinarily beautiful setting.

Incorporated in 1973, Rancho Palos Verdes is the newest and largest municipality on the Peninsula. It was established by strong community action to prevent the over-development destined to occur if planning had taken place under Los Angeles County control. Upwards of 1,145 residents live in primarily single-family dwellings in a 13 1/2 square mile area. Homes in the city are composed of individual homes, condominiums, and town homes that encompass a wide range of size and price. The 7 1/2 mile coastline has a striking topography of quiet coves and beaches protected by steep cliffs.

Privacy and serenity characterize life in Rolling Hills, where families have traditionally kept horses on their properties. Most of the homes are only one-story high, on one-to-five acre estates, and all are painted the "approved" white in keeping with the Homeowners' Association rules. About 2,000 residents live on 1,920 acres in the center of the Peninsula, a three-square mile area of homes, hills and canyons, all protected by three guarded entrances. With few exceptions, the smallest parcel of land here is one acre, with parcels of two or more acres available among the approximately 700 sites in Rolling Hills. These properties are prized by those who seek beautiful tree-studded vistas, open land for horses, and a serene tempo to life. There are no zones for commerce.

Rolling Hills Estates, bordered by the city of Torrance to the northeast and virtually surrounded by the city of Rancho Palos Verdes to the south and west, may be the only Southland community where City Hall has a hitching post for the convenience of its visitors. It enjoys an equestrian lifestyle, yet it encompasses the Peninsula Center, the major commercial area of Palos Verdes, with one million square feet of office and retail space. The roughly 8,200 residents in this semi-rural city located on 4.18 square miles of hilly terrain on the northern side of the Peninsula have a closely-knit community. They take pride in their 25 miles of equestrian trails, off-road bicycle and jogging paths and views of Santa Monica Bay extending to downtown Los Angeles and the San Pedro harbor. Residential housing is predominantly single-family homes, but many townhomes and condominiums have been built near the Peninsula Center.

Palos Verdes Estates
Rancho Palos Verdes
Rolling Hills
Rolling Hills Estates
Academy Hills and Westfield are unincorporated areas off Palos Verdes Drive North with unique characteristics. Westfield captures the equestrian, rural, rustic way of life of its neighbor Rolling Hills. Academy Hills offers a more traditional curb-lined suburban atmosphere. Approximately 486 homes are located within their boundaries. These residents are served by the same Palos Verdes Peninsula community services and schools as the rest of the Peninsula.

Wayfarer's Chapel
South Coast Botanic Garden
La Venta Inn
Terranea Resort
The renowned Wayfarer's Chapel, a Lloyd Wright glass inspiration, offers several types of religious services to the public. The South Coast Botanic Garden on 87 acres displays more than 2,500 different species of plants from as far away as Australia, the Mediterranean, and Southern Africa. The Venta Inn is one of the oldest buildings on the Peninsula, commanding a panoramic coastal view and is available for public and private events. The spectacular five-star resort "Terranea" graces a 103-acre promontory overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the former Marineland site. This resort features 585 rooms in hotel casita and villa configurations and includes a full convention center and golf academy.

Residents are justifiably proud of their fine Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District (PVPUSD) that serves the entire Peninsula. Students' test scores are consistently in the top 10% of California Schools, evidence of the quality of classes offered and the high degree of parental involvement. Palos Verdes Peninsula High has been recognized as both a National Blue Ribbon School and a New American High School. Both Palos Verdes Peninsula High School and Palos Verdes High School have been designated as California Distinguished Schools. Extensive sports, arts and drama programs contribute to school spirit and reflect the pride Peninsula families take in this exceptional educational system. Approximately 11,500 students attend, two early childhood centers, ten elementary schools, three 6-8 intermediate schools, two comprehensive high schools and one continuation school. The fact that approximately 98% of district students have gone on to higher learning is unique among area schools. Many options for private education exist, at all grade levels from pre-school through junior college.

The Palos Verdes Library District (PVLD) offers a full range of services to meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of the community from children's story hours to sophisticated business research. Books, magazines, videos, compact discs, passport services, and books-on-tape are available at the three library branches.

Gentle westerly breezes keep the climate on the Peninsula moderate, with summer temperatures rarely above 80 degrees and with an average winter temperature of 67 degrees. Since rainfall occurs only in the colder months, Palos Verdes offers both residents and visitors unparalleled opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities throughout the seasons.

Bordered on the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, the Peninsula has virtually unlimited choices of aquatic activities. Swimming, sunning, diving, surfing, yachting, sailing, or sport fishing are certain to satisfy the most relaxed visitor or the most avid sports enthusiast.

Trails crisscross sections of the hills and canyons providing bicyclists, joggers and equestrians with their own special hours of delight. Equestrian shows and events are scheduled throughout the year. One private, one semi-private and two public golf courses offer golfers challenge and spectacular views. Trump National is the most recent public addition and is likely the most expensive course ever developed. Tennis buffs can play at any one of the numerous public or private courts or membership clubs. There are three equestrian centers on the Peninsula, all available for use by the public.

Parks on the Peninsula lend themselves to picnics, relaxing in the sun or shade, kite flying, and other family outings. Many parks offer planned activities for groups, seniors and children, including year-round participation in a wide variety of sports programs such as Little League, AYSO Soccer, Summer Swim and organized programs including scouting and 4H. The school grounds provide additional grassy areas and sports fields for children's organized or casual activities.

Integral to the well-being and sense of community are the churches and synagogues on the Peninsula. Residents are welcome at a wide choice of places of worship. Their members actively support local activities and foster the "good neighbor" concept.

Shopping is a rewarding experience on the Peninsula, where traditional retail stores complement an inviting array of one-of-a-kind shops. Shoppers enjoy the convenience, flexibility and variety of options available to them, both on the Palos Verdes Peninsula as well as in nearby South Bay cities. There are two major shopping malls within 20 minutes of Palos Verdes, as well as excellent shopping centers here on the Peninsula. Traditional and gourmet markets offer a generous selection of fresh food for the homemaker. Many choices from casual to fine dining are available in restaurants located on the Peninsula and throughout the South Bay.

Peninsula Symphony
Norris Theater
The Palos Verdes Art Center
A striking advantage of living on the Palos Verdes Peninsula is that residents can enjoy cultural life throughout the year without having to make the 45-minute drive to Los Angeles. The Peninsula Symphony Orchestra presents four annual concerts and hots an annual Summer Fest. Diverse performing talents are showcased by the South Bay Chamber Music Society, the South Bay Conservatory, Los Cancioneros Master Chorale, the Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, South Bay Ballet, and Palos Verdes Ballet.

Norris Theater for the Performing Arts, an elegant modern facility seating 450, serves professional resident and touring companies presenting dance, drama, and music productions. Many community groups also hold programs and conduct meetings there. The newest addition to the facility is the Harlyne J. Norris Pavilion for the community's use.

The Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC) houses fine arts exhibits and presents year-round fine arts classes. The Community Arts Association receives support from a yearly festival, from various support groups and art groups who present their work on weekends in Malaga Cove Plaza.