Villa Park is a city in northern Orange County, California near Orange and Anaheim Hills that incorporated in 1962. It had a population of 5,999 in the 2000 census, achieving the status of the smallest city in Orange County by population (La Palma is Orange County's smallest city in area). Villa Park includes about 2,000 homes and the land is nearly 99% built out. The city is zoned for single-family residences; most house occupy half-acre lots. There is one small shopping center that includes a Ralph's grocery store, some banks, a pharmacy with a postal substation, a variety of stores and offices, City Hall and community room, and a branch of the Orange County Public Library. Three restaurants, including Rockwell's Cafe & Bakery, are located in the shopping center. Public elementary, middle, and high schools are operated by the Orange Unified School District.
There are no public parks within the city limits. Many homes have pools or tennis courts, or both. Villa Park has winding streets, no sidewalks, nor any street lights. There are many trees and flowers planted that contribute to a rural, green ambience. The city is an enclave surrounded by the City of Orange. Villa Park's geography is due largely to its unwillingness to annex land beyond Santiago Creek, to the east. The City of Orange annexed these lands around and beyond Villa Park.
Members of the Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño nations long inhabited this area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish expedition led by Father Junipero Serra named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the areas first permanent European settlement in Alta California, New Spain.
In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted 62,500 acres (253 km2) to Jose Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the cities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today.
Villa Park was known as Mountain View in the 1860s. The U.S. Post Office refused to allow the local post office to be called Mountain View because there was a local post office with that name in Northern California (Mountain View), so the new local post office and the area came to be called Villa Park.
Villa Park was an agricultural area producing, in turn, grapes, walnuts, apricots. Finally, citrus became the major crop for about 60 years. Citrus ranchers and their families molded Villa Park into a vital community and organized its incorporation to save it from what they felt were the unwelcome zoning practices from the eastward-moving city of Orange.
These ranchers established the Serrano Water District, which still provides Villa Park's water. (The district office is located on Lincoln Street.) They also founded the Villa Park Orchard's Association, still a thriving business in Orange, although the packing house that was the dominant Villa Park landmark for many years, located west of the shopping center, was torn down in 1983. The citrus groves yielded to the developers, but the pioneers left an enduring legacy in half-acre zoning for housing, that has been instrumental in shaping the city's character.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.5 km² (2.1 mi²), all land.
The City is governed by five council members, each elected for four-year terms, who serve without pay and meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Residents are encouraged to attend and participate in these meetings and the political life of the City. Council agendas are posted on the bulletin board outside of the City Hall. There are also a full-time appointed City Managers, a small office staff, and a maintenance crew. Police, fire, legal, and engineering services are contracted for outside of the City.
Villa Park is part of the 40th Congressional District, which is represented in the United States House of Representatives by Republican Ed Royce, who has served in Congress since 1993. In the California State Legislature, the city is represented by Senator Dick Ackerman (a Republican from the 33rd Senate District) and Assemblyman Bob Huff (a Republican from the 60th Assembly District). On the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Villa Park is represented by the 3rd District's Bill Campbell.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,999 people, 1,950 households, and 1,764 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,097.7/km² (2,844.9/mi²). There were 2,008 housing units at an average density of 367.4/km² (952.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.40% White, 0.80% African American, 0.43% Native American, 12.92% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 2.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.90% of the population.
There were 1,950 households out of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 82.1% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 9.5% were non-families. 7.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.07 and the average family size was 3.22.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 21.2% from 25 to 44, 32.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 101.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $116,203, and the median income for a family was $124,852. Males had a median income of $78,563 versus $46,667 for females. The per capita income for the city was $53,130. About 2.2% of families and 2.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.4% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.