Incorporated in 1923, South Gate is the 59th largest city in California, and the 16th largest city in Los Angeles County. South Gate is located in the southern part of the state, and borders the southeastern part of the City of Los Angeles.
South Gate straddles both the Los Angeles River and Interstate 710. It fits, with room to spare, in the triangle bounded by Interstate 110, on the west, Interstate 105 on the south, and Interstate 5 along the northeast. The Pacific Ocean is about 10 miles away whether you are traveling due west or due south. The southeast portion of the city is an area known as Hollydale, a community which was annexed by South Gate.
South Gate is served by four airports, which are all between 6 and 12 miles away. The Metropolitan Transit Authority provides bus service.
Much of South Gate was included in the grant of land from the King of Spain to Don Antonio Maria Lugo in 1810 as a result of his father's service in the Spanish Army. It was originally used for agricultural crops and for grazing cattle, horses, and sheep. The land, known as Rancho San Antonio, was divided into smaller units as it was passed down. By the 1870's much of it was 40 acre tracts.
Between 1910 and 1940 homes, factories, and a commercial district grew at the south gate of the rancho, providing the city with its name. An early housing development named "Southgate Gardens-Gateway to the Sea" began selling in 1917. It comprised 268 parcels of land, each roughly a half acre. By 1918 a total of 125 homes held an estimated 500 residents. The railroad, homes, and industry reinforced each other's growth. In the 1920's and 1930's several large companies constructed factories in South Gate including Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, A. R. Maas Chemical Company, the fore runner of U.S. Gypsum named Star Roofing Company, and General Motors. Since then, major changes have been the boon to industry which World War II brought, and the immigration of Latino and other groups which began in the 1970's.
The city maintains nine parks. South Gate Park, the largest, with 96 acres, offers:
- 10 baseball diamonds
- 6 tennis courts
- Horseshoe pits
- A shuffle board court
- A 9-hole Frisbee golf
- An Olympic size swimming pool
- 20 acres of picnic grounds with tables and barbeques
- A par 3 golf course
- A Municipal Auditorium
- A Girls Clubhouse
One annual attraction is the South Gate Children's Christmas Lane Parade. Others are the Southern Avenue Bike Pedestrian Way and the Rio Hondo Bicycle Trail
In 1990 South Gate, along with nine other cities, received the "All-America City Award" given by the National Civic League. In 2006, Southgate Elementary School was given an "Honorable Mention Award" by the California School Recognition Program.
The famous aviator, Amelia Earhart, was taught to fly at an unpaved air strip in South Gate named Kinner Field. It was located on Century Boulevard at the intersection with Long Beach Boulevard. Glenn Seaborg, the 1951 co-winner of the "Nobel Prize", who also worked on the Manhattan Project lived in a neighborhood which later became part of South Gate.