The history of this area dates back to the 1830s when Don Palomares received a 15,000 acre land grant from Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado in 1837, which included the land of present day cities Pomona, Claremont, San Dimas, Glendora, and La Verne. This holding was called Rancho San Jose. The adobe which Palomares built in 1837 is still preserved in Pomona as 'La Casa Primera' (The First House). Palomares soon moved a mile or so northeast and constructed the Palomares Adobe. He ensured that a nephew, Jose Dolores Palomares, secured a tract of land a mile west. In the mid-1880s, enterpreneur Issac W. Lord purchased a tract of Jose Palomares' land and convinced the Santa Fe Railroad company to run its line across towards Los Angeles. Lord had the land surveyed for building lots and in 1887 had a large land sale, naming the new town 'Lordsburg' after himself. He also had a large Lordsburg Hotel constructed, but the land boom was over by the time it was completed. It sat empty for several years, until sold to four members of the German Baptist Brethren Church, who persuaded others of that denomination that it would be an excellent site for a new institution of higher learning. Lordsburg College was founded in 1891. In 1906 the town was incorporated. Residents grew field crops, then began planting citrus trees, which flourished. Lordsburg became known as the "Heart of the Orange Empire." In 1917, after I.W. Lord died, citizens changed the name to "La Verne," taking the name of a small unincorporated village which had once been settled to the west. (L.H. Bixby and her sister named the foothill area "La Verne" after a French phrase for "growing green" or "spring-like.")
La Verne flourished as a center of the citrus industry until after World War II, when groves grew old and were gradually bulldozed and replaced by tract homes.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 31,638 people, 11,070 households, and 8,346 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,470.0/km² (3,805.8/mi²). There were 11,286 housing units at an average density of 524.4/km² (1,357.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.06% White, 3.21% African American, 0.64% Native American, 7.20% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 7.42% from other races, and 4.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.12% of the population.
There were 11,070 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.0% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.6% were non-families. 19.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.79 and the average family size was 3.23.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $61,326, and the median income for a family was $70,344. Males had a median income of $50,429 versus $35,180 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,689. About 2.5% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.6% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.
The University of La Verne is located on 3rd Street in La Verne. Bonita High School is located on D Street. Lutheran High School Is located on Fruit Street. Damien High School is a Catholic, all boys school located at the intersection of Damien and Bonita Avenues.