Nestled between Torrance and Long Beach, Carson is the newest city in the South Bay region, having been incorporated in only 1968. It’s this civic youthfulness that imbued into the city an ambition for growth; in the last 10 years, it has seen additions and renovations that have changed the city’s face significantly. In its 40 years, it’s managed so far to live up to the motto on the city seal: Future Unlimited.
The 18th century Rancho San Pedro land grant that contained most of the South Bay’s cities also gave birth to Carson, California. The chosen name comes from George Henry Carson, a powerful merchant that married into the land-owning Dominguez family in the 1800s. A particularly interesting bit of Carson history take splace in what is now Cal State Dominguez Hills where, in 1910, The Great Air Meet took place. People came the world over to show off and test primitive planes for a captive audience, foreshadowing South Bay’s affinity for the aerospace industry. These layers of history formed the foundation of the city before it had a name, granted in February of 1968 when citizens voted to make it official.
Boundaries of City
The western edge of Carson proper is the 110 freeway, with Wilmington to the south and the various Harbor cities to the east. North of Carson is Compton and the last few miles of the 91 freeway. These boundaries give it easy access north to Los Angeles and LAX, or east to Cerritos and the Inland Empire.
Carson, California Real Estate
Much of Carson’s residential areas are organized into tract housing, and recent years have seen a rise in duplex or triplex gated communities. There are a fair number of apartments and many mobile home parks embedded into the city. Especially unique is the availability of senior citizen housing, from apartments to retirement homes, which is reflected in the city’s uncommonly high elderly population.
There are 19 schools in the Carson area, mostly elementary schools, with Banning & Carson High as the two large high schools. Most of Carson falls under the jurisdicton of LAUSD. One of the exceptions is the California Academy of Math & Science (CAMS) a prestigious public magnet high school under Long Beach Unified School District. It is on the campus grounds of California State University, Dominguez Hills.
CSUDH itself is notable as the region’s only state university and reflects the diversity of its home city. They offer 107 Bachelor’s degrees and 45 Master’s degrees. It’s a medium-small campus with an average population of 14,000. The Cal State system’s nursing program keeps their headquarters here at Dominguez Hills.
Things To Do
Carson in recent years owes some of its growth to the creation of the Home Depot Center, an outdoor stadium that hosts the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA. The giant 27,000 seat stadium was just recently rebranded as the StubHub Center. This renaming became official in June 2013, when stadium owners AEG signed a new naming rights deal with the online ticket vendor. Besides Major League Soccer, the venue has been a regular host to tennis, boxing, the X games, crossfit games, and concerts/festivals like the Vans Warped Tour. There’s even a velodrome for cycling events.
Just a few miles down the road from the StubHub Center is the main shopping center, the South Bay Pavilion. The South Bay Galleria and the Del Amo Fashion Center are both bigger malls, but the Pavilion is the location for some hard to find franchises. It neighbors one of the only Ikea stores for miles, and if you wanted to try a famous Five Guys burger, you’re going to have to come to Carson.
What Makes Carson Unique?
Before the StubHub Center brought a certain prestige and attention to town, Carson’s claim to fame was the landing site of the Goodyear Blimp. The iconic fixture of the skies above sporting events called this city home, and locals could often catch the airship making its odd, kite-like landing.
It’s also very much a mixed industrial/residential city. BP is a top employer, and if you head to the city’s eastern edge, you’ll see their large, towering industrial complexes. The most recognizable and oft-photographed is just after the Dominguez Channel on 223rd street, where you can often see a refinery adorned with a giant American flag and a single burning flame.
Finally, it’s hard to talk about Carson without spotlighting its diversity. All of South Bay is a giant multicultural community, but even in this atmosphere it stands out with Gardena as being one of the most diverse in Southern California. Particular to Carson is its large Filipino American community, evident at Carson & Main street where a plaza has become an epicenter of Filipino groceries, restaurants, bakeries and fast food. It even has a bust of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, to mark the significance.