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Santa Ana in 1887
Santa Ana in 1891

Santa Ana ( ) is the county seat and most populous city in Orange Countymarker, Californiamarker, and the 53rd-most populous city in the United Statesmarker with a 2007 estimated population of 339,555. (The California Department of Finance puts the city's 2009 estimated population at 355,662.) Founded in 1869, Santa Ana is located in Southern California on the Santa Ana River, away from the California coast. The city is part of the Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana metropolitan area which, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is the second largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with almost thirteen million people. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, of U.S. cities with more than 300,000 people, Santa Ana is the 4th-most densely populated, behind only New York Citymarker, San Franciscomarker, and Chicagomarker, and slightly denser than Bostonmarker.

Santa Ana lends its name to the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5), which runs through the city. It also shares its name with the nearby Santa Ana Mountains and the infamous Santa Ana Winds, which historically have fueled seasonal wildfires throughout Southern California. The current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metropolitan designation for Santa Ana and the Orange County Areamarker is "Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA".


Members of the Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño nations long inhabited the area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolá out of Mexico Citymarker, then capitol of New Spain, Friar Junípero Serra named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne, or Santa Ana Valley). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistranomarker was established within this valley. This Santa Ana Valley comprised most of what is now called Orange County.

In 1810, year of the commencement of the war of Mexican Independence , Jose Antonio Yorba, a sergeant of the Spanish army, was granted land that he called Rancho Santiago de Santa Anamarker. Yorba's rancho included the lands where the cities of Olivemarker, Orangemarker, Irvinemarker,Yorba Lindamarker, Villa Parkmarker, Santa Ana, Tustinmarker, Costa Mesamarker and unincorporated El Modenamarker, and Santa Ana Heightsmarker, are today. This rancho was the only land grant in Orange County granted under Spanish Rule. Surrounding land grants in Orange County were granted after Mexican Independence by the new government.

After the Mexican-American war ended in 1848, Alta Californiamarker became part of the United Statesmarker and American settlers arrived in this area.

Claimed in 1869 by Kentuckianmarker William H. Spurgeon on land obtained from the descendents of Jose Antonio Yorba, Santa Ana was incorporated as a city in 1886 with a population of 2000 and in 1889 became the seat of the newly formed Orange Countymarker.

By 1906 the Pacific Electric Railway from Los Angelesmarker was extended to Santa Ana, running along Fourth Street downtown. The "red cars" made travel to Los Angeles easier and helped continue Santa Ana's population boom. Due to declining ridership, the route was abandoned by the 1950s and the tracks were removed along with much of the rest of the Pacific Electric system. The closing coincided with the opening of the Santa Ana Freeway in 1953, increasing the ease of travel by automobile.

Santa Ana was the home of the original Glenn L. Martin aviation company, founded in 1912 before merging with the Wright Company in 1916. Later, Glenn Luther Martin created a second company of the same name in Clevelandmarker, Ohiomarker which eventually merged with the Lockheed Corporation to form the largest defense contractor in the world, Lockheed Martin.

During World War II, the Santa Ana Army Air Basemarker was built as a training center for the United States Army Air Forces. The base was responsible for continued population growth in Santa Ana and the rest of Orange County as many veterans moved to the area to raise families after the end of the war.

In 1987, MainPlace Mall (now Westfield MainPlace) was opened north of downtown and became a major retail center for the area.

In November 1988, Santa Ana became a charter city, which allowed citizens to directly vote in mayoral elections. The current mayor of Santa Ana is Miguel A. Pulido, the first of Latino descent in the city's history.

Since the 1980s, Santa Ana has been characterized by an effort to revitalize the downtown area which had declined in influence. The Santa Ana Artist's Village was created around Cal State Fullertonmarker's Grand Central Art Centermarker to attract artists and young professionals to live-work lofts and new businesses. The process has continued into 2009 with the reopening of the historic Yost Theater.


Santa Ana is located at (33.740717, -117.881408).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 71.0 km² (27.4 mi²). 70.3 km² (27.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.7 km² (0.3 mi²) of it (0.95%) is water. It is the 4th most densely populated place in the United States with a population of 300,000 or more with 12,471.5 people per sq. mile.

Santa Ana is nested on flat, low-lying plains with little land elevation change. Running through the west end of the city is the mostly channelized Santa Ana River, which is also largely seasonal due to the construction of the Prado Dammarker and Seven Oaks Dammarker. The river has caused several severe floods in the 20th century, and is a continued threat despite the existence of the dams.


Now fully developed, Santa Ana has several distinct districts. The core of the city is the downtown area, which contains both retail and housing, as well as the Santa Ana Civic Center which is a dense campus of administrative buildings for both the city and the county of Orange. The civic center is also home to the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthousemarker. Several historic homes dating from the late 1800s can be found as well, and their preservation is a key issue as development of the downtown area continues.

North of downtown is the "Midtown" district along Main St., home to entertainment destinations such as the Bowers Museummarker, MainPlace Mall, and the Discovery Science Centermarker.

Near the intersection of the Santa Ana Freeway and the Costa Mesa Freeway is the newly-designated "Metro East" area, which the city council has envisioned as a secondary mixed-use development district. Currently the area is occupied by several office towers, but little retail or housing. Also on the east side of the city is the Santa Ana Zoomarker, notable for its collection of monkeys and species from South and Central America.

The south end of the city is part of the South Coast Metro area, which is shared with the city of Costa Mesamarker. South Coast Plazamarker, a major shopping center, is the primary destination of this area, which also contains several high-rise office and apartment buildings.


Santa Ana experiences a Mediterranean climate, with cool, wet winters and the dry, warm sunny weather that Southern California is famous for in summer. Winter daytime temperatures average in the high 60s to low 70s (degrees Fahrenheit), and summer daytime temperatures average in the low to mid 80s. Rainfall averages about 14 inches (356 mm) per year, most of which falls from November to April


City Stadium in 2007
Santa Ana Unified School District includes thirty-seven K–5 elementary schools, nine 6–8 intermediate schools, eight 9–12 high schools, five special schools, and one charter school. The school district provides an online accountability report card.

Santa Ana Unified School District's public high schools include Valley High School , Middle College High School, Santa Ana High Schoolmarker, Saddleback High School, Century High School, Segerstrom Fundamental High Schoolmarker, newly opened Godinez Fundamental High School, Cesar E. Chavez High School, and other major schools in the area, along with the Orange County High School of the Artsmarker in the midtown district.

The Roman Catholic Diocese operates Mater Dei High Schoolmarker. The Diocese also operates several K–8 schools in Santa Ana including: School of Our Lady, Saint Anne, Saint Barbara, and Saint Joseph. (Immaculate Heart Of Mary And Our Lady Of the Pillar schools were closed in 2005 and merged into the School of Our Lady which is located at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.

The city is home to Santa Ana College, a two year public community college, as well as California Coast University, and the Orange County branch of the Art Institute of California.


As of 2007, there were 327,780 people, and 77,922 housing units. Santa Ana's property occupation density is 4.6 per housing unit, the highest of any American city over 50,000. (By contrast, New York's is 2.8, and Los Angeles's density is 2.6 persons per housing unit.)

The racial makeup of the city, as of 2007, is 42.6% White, 1.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 9.4% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 46.3% from Some other race, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic and Latino Americans compose 79.6% of all residents, including 74.1% who are Mexican American. Non-Hispanic Whites made up 12.4% of the population in 2000 and has declined since then. Santa Ana is also home to the largest Cambodian population in Orange County.

53.2% of households had children under the age of 18 living in them, 60.6% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.1% were non-families. 12.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.55 and the average family size was 4.72.

In the city the population was spread out with 34.2% under the age of 18, 12.8% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 13.5% from 45 to 64, and 5.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 107.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.7 males. Santa Ana bucks the national trend on a large percentage of young people under the age of 21.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,412, and the median income for a family was $41,050. Males had a median income of $23,342 versus $21,637 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,152. About 16.1% of families and 25.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.1% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over. Santa Ana is a city divided by socio-economic class stratification after decades of immigration and economic prosperity.


Santa Ana is one of a few cities in Orange County where Democratic Party registration outnumbers that of the Republican Party. In the 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama defeated John McCain in the city by a margin of 20,357 votes, 65% to 32%. This was despite Obama losing to fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton in the city during the Democratic Primary.

In the state legislature Santa Ana is located in the 34th Senate District represented by Democrat Lou Correa, and in the 69th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jose Solorio. Federally, Santa Ana is located in California's 47th Congressional District and is represented by Democrat Loretta Sanchez.


Santa Ana is the corporate headquarters of several companies including First American Corporation, Ingram Micro, The Orange County Register, Greenwood & Hall, Behr Paint, and Wahoo's Fish Taco. It also houses major regional headquarters for the Xerox corporation and T-Mobile.

One of Santa Ana's most notable businesses is the Rickenbacker musical instrument company, whose electric guitars and bass guitars earned fame in the hands of many rock and roll legends.

Then Glenn L. Martin Company, a precursor to Lockheed Martin, was founded in Santa Ana in 1912 before merging with the Wright Company in 1916.

In recent years, the nearby city of Irvinemarker has outpaced Santa Ana in commercial growth, with the Irvine Business District located near John Wayne Airport. To compete with this, Santa Ana has approved commercial projects in the South Coast Metro area, as well as the "Metro East" development, located at the confluence of the Santa Ana Freeway and the Costa Mesa Freeway.

The Historic South Main Business District contains many older retail shops and other small businesses. It extends from downtown Santa Ana southwards on Main Street to the South Coast Metro area.

The Consulate-General of El Salvador in Santa Ana is located in Suite 103 at 840 North Grand Avenue. The Consulate-General of Mexico in Santa Ana is located on 828 North Broadway Street.


Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Santa Ana several times on weekdays with less frequent service on weekends. It operates its Pacific Surfliner between San Diegomarker to the south and either Los Angelesmarker or Paso Robles to the north (see Santa Ana Regional Transportation Centermarker). Greyhound USA is the largest bus transportation service in Santa Ana. Greyhound serves the continental United States and Canada. The bus lines Crucero, Intercalifornias, and others serve all points into Mexico.

Santa Ana is also served by Metrolink's Orange County Line (Oceansidemarker to Union Stationmarker), and Inland Empire-Orange County Line (San Bernardinomarker to San Juan Capistranomarker).

Public transit bus service is available via the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA).

John Wayne Airportmarker is located at 18601 Airport Way Santa Ana, CA 92707. The IATA code for the airport is SNA.


Santa Ana is home to some of the most successful sports high school and collegiate sports teams in the nation. Mater Dei High Schoolmarker has one of the most successful and reputable American football programs in the country. The Dons of Santa Ana College are one of the most successful soccer teams in the state of California, and is a frequent top finisher, statewide. In 2008 the Dons clinched their fifteenth consecutive Orange Empire Conference title. The college is also known for its historically successful baseball teams.

Soccer is one of the most, if not the most, popular sport in the city. The city is home to a number of youth soccer teams that participate in various leagues such as the Santa Ana Soccer Academy or Santa Ana DSP, the Coast Soccer League, Southern California Youth Soccer Organization, The Aztec Soccer League, and the United Latin Soccer League. The Orange County Blue Star of the USL Premier Development League played some of their games at Eddie West Field of Santa Ana Stadium. U.S. National Team and Chivas USA player Sacha Kljestann is a product of the Orange County Blue Star. The winner of the first ever Sueño MLS competition is U.S. U-20 National Team and Chivas USA player Jorge Flores, a product of Santa Ana DSP Juventus.

The enthusiasm for the sport in the city has attracted the interest of the MLS club Chivas USA and Mexico's Atlante F.C. that established an officially recognized club, Atlante Santa Ana.

Recreation and Attractions

Santa Ana has a number of parks that provide an improved quality of life for the residents.[10947] Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm amusement parks are located northeast of Santa Ana, several kilometers away. Beaches are located around 20 minutes to the south, accessible by the 55 freeway. Huntington Beach and Newport Beach as well as other coastal communities offer world-class shopping, dining, boating, swimming and surfing opportunities.

Getting to Santa Ana

From Los Angeles: Take the interstate 5 freeway approximately 30 miles (50 km) south. By rail, Amtrak and Metrolink both have daily service from Los Angeles' Union Station. From San Diego: Drive on the 5 freeway north approximately 90 miles (150 km) north. Also, Amtrak has service to Santa Ana. From Las Vegas: Use interstate 15 south. Next, take the interstate 10 west to the 57 south to the 5 south. (Trip time, about 4 hours).

City Challenges

As with many larger urban areas, Santa Ana struggles with its fair share of challenges. Gangs have been an ongoing problem in Santa Ana. Gang shootings and retaliatory attacks are a concern of citizens. The Santa Ana Police department asserts that criminal gang members are successfully being tracked down or taken into custody by combined police action and community awareness organizations. [10948] Police and FBI raids have helped to cut crime rates dramatically in some areas of the city.[10949] In 2006, students walked out of schools to protest anti-immigrant legislation (protests were held nationwide).[10950] Street cruising has been a problem from time to time. Police response times suffered, and residents were irritated by noise, crime, increased traffic, gang activity and other problems due to cruising.[10951] Overcrowding in some areas of the city is a concern. Police or parking enforcement sometimes issue citations and fines to parked vehicles for having "for sale" signs in the cars' windows, possibly neglecting more serious matters.

Sites of interest

The Rancho Santiago Community College District, established in 1878, has six satellite campus locations across Orange County, including Santa Ana College.

Greenville, a formerly rural section of Santa Ana, has buildings over a century-old, but industrial complexes replaced agricultural fields that once surrounded the town.

Santa Ana has several wall paintings and murals depicting local history, community events and cultural diversity in Orange County.

Notable locations

See also


External links

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