Nieto built a rancho for his family near Whittier, and purchased cattle and horses for his ranch and also planted cornfields. When Nieto died in , his children inherited their father's property. Gerkens would later become the first chief of police of the Los Angeles Police Department. The area soon became known as a thriving citrus ranching region, with "Quaker Brand" fruit being shipped all over the United States. Later, walnut trees were also planted, and Whittier became the largest walnut grower in the United States.
Southern Pacific Railroad built the first railroad spur to Whittier in By , carloads of oranges and carloads of lemons were shipped annually by rail. In the first two decades over a million passengers a year rode to and from Los Angeles on the Whittier line. In the new Civic Center complex was completed and the City Council met in new chambers for the first time on March 8, The City continued to grow as the City annexed portions of Whittier Boulevard and East Whittier, the annexation added over 28, people to the population, bringing the total to about 67, They followed the Quaker religious faith and practice, and held religious meetings on their porch.
As the city grew, the citizens named it after John Greenleaf Whittier , a respected Quaker poet. Whittier wrote a dedication poem, and is honored today with statues and a small exhibit at the Whittier museum; a statue of him sits in the park, and another representing his poem The Barefoot Boy used to reside by the City Hall. Whittier never set foot there, but the city still bears his name and is rooted in the Quaker tradition.
Progress on developing a college was sporadic, but on July 30, the Whittier Academy, operating since , officially changed its name to Whittier College with students enrolled. The school mascot is "The Poet. Due to an economic depression in the s, the first bachelors degrees were not awarded at the college for 17 years. The Mendenhalls were among the founding families of Whittier. Oscar's brother, Samuel Mendenhall, helped bring in the water system and post office.
The Mendenhalls were large growers for Sunkist oranges and Blue Diamond walnuts. The meeting soon outgrew this seat meeting house and new, larger building was erected on the corner of Philadelphia Street and Washington Avenue in By , membership had grown to 1, and a third building was dedicated on the same site in With a capacity of 1,, the meeting house featured a balcony and was constructed of brick with mahogany paneling and pews. The present meeting house, dedicated in , features many architectural elements and materials from the building including the stained glass windows and mahogany interior.
The seismic event, which registered 5. Three days later, on October 4, , at 3: Buildings and residential structures which were already borderline unsafe were now deemed unsafe or uninhabitable.
In the years following the earthquake, the city's deteriorating uptown business district, which suffered substantial damage in the earthquake, became the focus of renewed development, which met with opposition from many Whittier citizens. Out of the rubble of the earthquake the Whittier Conservancy was formed in in an effort to stop the demolition of many historic buildings and residences after the disaster. The city also created a Historic Resources Commission to oversee the approval of historic designations, historic districts and Mills Act proposals.
Whittier is bordered by the community of Hacienda Heights to the northeast, City of Industry to the north, and several other unincorporated communities in the San Gabriel Valley mostly along its northern sections.
Neighborhoods There are several neighborhoods in Whittier. The area centered around Philadelphia Street and Greenleaf Avenue is known as Uptown Whittier and contains the traditional central business core. They have been designated historic districts by the city Historic Resources Commission, and together comprise most of the area of the Whittier Historic Neighborhood Association.
These districts contain many Craftsman and Spanish Colonial Revival homes. In and abutting the hills north of the historic districts is Starlite Estates, an upscale neighborhood. The area surrounding Whittier College is known as College Hills and was also recently designated a historic district.
The area east of College Avenue is referred to as East Whittier. East Whittier was a separate agricultural community until the postwar era.
The population density was 5, The racial makeup of Whittier was 55, Hispanic or Latino of any race were 56, persons The Census reported that 83, people There were 28, households, out of which 11, There were 1, 6.
The average household size was 2. There were 20, families The population was spread out with 21, people The median age was For every females there were For every females age 18 and over, there were There were 29, housing units at an average density of 2, The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.
There were 28, housing units at an average density of 1, The racial makeup of the city was Hispanic or Latino of any race were In the city the population was spread out with The median age was 33 years.
Politics Whittier was once very conservative politically, but in recent years has become divided, with the Central and Western portions of Whittier voting more for Democrats, and East Whittier voting more for Republicans. Calderon and Republican Curt Hagman respectively. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility. The city still waits to attract more well known businesses and open new residential town homes with the revival of its Uptown district.
In addition, the agency is working on developing a acre 1. The master plan was adopted in June by the City Council. Media The local newspaper is the Whittier Daily News. Top employers According to the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,  the top employers in the city are: