In Baldwin Park, California residents remember their history! Like much of California's grassland, this location once was considered an extended grazing area for cattle belonging to the famous San Gabriel Mission. Many farmers and rancher came to California to buy up some land and enter the lucrative cattle business. Others discovered that the sunny weather also made this state a prime location for growing grapes, and soon little vineyards were nestled alongside the sprawling grazing areas of the local cattle ranches. Unfortunately, severe drought conditions ended the dreams of cattle ranching for many, and those who come to Baldwin Park, CA today will see the monuments dedicated to many a ranching operation that attempted to hold on as long as possible, only to finally have to give up and release the land.
The vineyards we heavily hit by the drought as well, and it was not uncommon for owners to band together to solve the water shortage problems. Those who had a well were fortunate, and their crops survived and provided a good income for them. Forming a loosely knot community, farmers and vintners came together in a sunny spot the named "Pleasant View". In deference to the newfound wealth from the vineyards, the little community changed its name in 1880 to "Vineland". As the wealth continued to prosper the residents, soon an actual school district was formed, and the town functions and also the architecture began to speak of the fiscal richness that was found there. In Baldwin Park, California visitors can still follow in the footprints of these developments by visiting the famous General Store that became Vineland's business hub simply by traveling to its location at the intersection of Los Angeles and La Rica Streets.
The idyll did not last and in 1906 a somewhat cantankerous yet wealthy gentleman by the name of "Lucky" Baldwin decided to establish his own town nearby. He resolved to name it Baldwinville, in honor of himself. Vineland understood that such competition would threaten the wealth and prosperity it had enjoyed, and when legal steps to hinder Mr. Baldwin from pursuing his plans failed, the Vineland movers and shakers sought to reason with him personally. (If you take the time to visit the court house in Baldwin Park, California visitors will quite possibly be able to follow the document trail this battle has left in its wake.) By then eighty years old, Mr. Baldwin enjoyed the ruckus he had caused and attended the meeting. As he entered the locale, he slipped and quite possibly could have died in a serious fall, had it not been for a Vineland resident whose quick action saved him from harm. Rumor has it that Mr. Baldwin's close call turned him away from pursuing the idea of Baldwinville, and he agreed to not create a competing town nearby. Vineland expressed its gratitude to Mr. Baldwin by changing its name to Baldwin Park, thus giving both sides a little something.
For those who live in Baldwin Park, California and its boom appear to have passed them by. The prosperity has remained, but the harried lifestyle has not taken root. As a matter of fact, in Baldwin Park, California industry is limited to a few light industry sites, and visitors to Baldwin Park, CA are frequently amazed by the small town lifestyle the residents enjoy.