La Habra is a city in the northwestern corner of Orange County, California. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 60,239. Its related city, La Habra Heights, is located to the north of La Habra, and is in Los Angeles County.
Origin of name
In the ranchos days when vast herds of Mexican cattle and horses grazed over the hills and valleys of Southern California, Mariano Reyes Roldan was granted and named his land Rancho Cañada de La Habra. The year was 1839, and the name referred to the “Pass Through the Hills,” the natural pass to the north first discovered by Spanish explorers in 1769. In the 1860s Abel Stearns purchased Rancho La Habra. Soon thereafter, heavy flooding followed by a severe drought brought bankruptcy to many cattle ranchers.
The first La Habra Post Office was established in 1898 in a corner of Coy's Store at Central (now La Habra Boulevard) and Euclid Street.
The City was incorporated under general law on January 20, 1925 with a population of 3,000. The Police Force was organized in 1926 and employed a Chief, Traffic Officer and Patrolman. By 1928, the City bore the distinction of being the largest avocado center in Southern California. In 1930 the first Fire Department building was constructed followed by the original City Hall in 1935. By 1950 the population reached nearly 5,000. The Civic Center took shape when the existing County Library was dedicated in 1966, followed by the present Administration Building in 1969.
Richard Milhous Nixon opened his first law office in La Habra just west of the Civic Center on the north side of La Habra Boulevard. That brick building was demolished in the 1990s for the construction of the City's Community Center.
For over seventy years La Habra was known as the city just south of La Habra Heights where the Hass Avocado Mother Tree was planted by Rudolph Hass in the 1920s. The fruit from this tree has since become one of the most popular avocado cultivars worldwide. The Hass Mother Tree succumbed to root rot in 2002.
The La Habra Stakes, run since 1973 at the Santa Anita Park Thoroughbred race track, is named for La Habra. Although La Habra lies within Orange County, the city contracts with the Los Angeles County Fire Department for EMS and fire protection.
Law enforcement is provided by the La Habra Police Department, which in 2008 employed about 70 officers. From 2004 to 2008, they ranked third in the number of officer-involved shootings among twenty Orange County municipal police departments. One case among these, the 2007 death of Michael Cho, resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city which was settled in September 2010 for $250,000.