The name of the city is pronounced "dwohr'-dee" by most locals, or often the Spanish pronunciation "doo-ahr'-teh" is used. Newscasters and others unfamiliar with the area generally say "doo-wahr'-tay." It is bounded to the north by the San Gabriel Mountains, to the north and west by the cities of Bradbury and Monrovia, to the south by the city of Irwindale, and to the east by the cities of Irwindale and Azusa.
Duarte is located at GR1(34.140416, -117.961678).
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there are 21,486 people, 6,635 households, and 4,889 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,241.9/km² (3,215.7/mi²). There are 6,805 housing units at an average density of 393.3/km² (1,018.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 52.02% White, 9.08% Black or African American, 0.94% Native American, 12.62% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 19.99% from other races, and 5.23% from two or more races. 43.41% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 6,635 households out of which 38.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% are married couples living together, 13.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 26.3% are non-families. 21.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.16 and the average family size is 3.70.
In the city the population is spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 85.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $50,744, and the median income for a family is $56,556. Males have a median income of $39,812 versus $33,045 for females. The per capita income for the city is $19,648. 11.3% of the population and 8.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 13.3% of those under the age of 18 and 10.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Around 500 B.C., a band of Shoshonean-speaking Indians established settlements in what is now the San Gabriel Valley. These native Americans came to be called the Gabrieliño Indians by early Spanish explorers, and are now referred to as the Tongva. The Tongva did not practice agriculture, but instead relied upon the wild seeds, berries, and plants that grew near the rivers and marshlands. Since the San Gabriel Valley area was home to large numbers of oak trees such as coast live oak and interior live oak, a staple of the Tongva diet was an acorn mush made by boiling acorn flour.
Duarte's history with Europeans dates back to 1769, when all land in California was claimed by the king of Spain. The first Europeans visited the San Gabriel Valley, including Duarte, during a 1769 expedition from San Diego to Monterey Bay commanded by Don Gaspar de Portolà. Accompanying Portolà was a Franciscan priest from Father Junipero Serra's order in Mexico, Juan Crespi, who served as the diarist of the expedition. Much of what is known of early California is known only from the detailed descriptions recorded by Crespi.
On September 8, 1771, the Franciscans established the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel in the San Gabriel Valley. The mission was a resting point for early California travelers and gathered most of the native Tongva into an agricultural lifestyle. Following Mexican independence in 1821, the mission lands were nationalized.
On May 10, 1841, the governor of Alta California — reported to be Juan Bautista Alvarado, but the date implies that it was Carlos Antonio Carrillo — granted to former Mexican corporal Andrés Duarte and his wife nearly 7,000 acres (28 km²) of prime land in the central-northern San Gabriel Valley. Duarte named his new holdings "Rancho Azusa de Duarte." (The name Azusa was derived from Asuksa-gna, the name of the Tongva settlement on the Foothills of California, on the western side of the alluvial fan where the San Gabriel River exits the San Gabriel Mountains; a portion of this area forms the northeasternmost corner of Duarte.) That land grant now comprises portions of Arcadia, portions of Monrovia, all of Bradbury, all of Duarte, portions of Irwindale, portions of Azusa and a portion of Baldwin Park. Corporal Duarte had the local Indians build a small hut for his family and help him plant a kitchen garden and orchards near "the Indian Springs of the Asuksas" in Fish Canyon.
Mexico ceded Alta California to the United States in 1848. In 1851, the American Congress passed a bill that established a Board of Land Commissioners whose duty was to determine the validity of all grants of Alta California land by Spanish and Mexican authorities. Corporal Duarte didn't address the investigation of his land grant until the following year, which began a court battle. Corporal Duarte began incurring legal expenses and other debts at that time, which he defrayed by selling portions of his Rancho. His first sale was a 225-acre parcel at the southern end of the Rancho to Michael Whistler and two unidentified colleagues. Whistler later bought out his colleagues and sold the entire parcel to Dr. Nehemiah Beardslee, who started the first school in Duarte (which now bears his surname) and laid out the first section of Duarte’s water lines. Corporal Duarte divided much of the Rancho's remainder into 40-acre plots and sold them individually. Corporal Duarte finally won a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court for his land grant case in 1878, but he had sold the entire Rancho by then.
Many of Duarte’s earliest pioneer families came to Duarte in the mid-1800s for their health, the pleasant climate, and the fertile soil. English settlers, Americans from the Midwest and Deep South, Latinos who remained from the Rancho and Japanese immigrants enabled Duarte to grow into a thriving agricultural community specializing in citrus production.
Two premier medical institutions were started in Duarte in the early part of the 20th century. In 1928, the Jewish Relief Association started a tuberculosis sanitarium in the form of a small tent city on 40 acres of land south of Duarte Road. This later evolved into the world-renowned City of Hope Medical Center, a recognized leader in fighting cancer and other catastrophic diseases. In 1930, a group of Carmelite nuns known as the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles established the Santa Teresita Rest Home, known today as Santa Teresita Medical Center. From four small cottages, this medical facility has developed into one of the finest hospitals in the region.The hospital was demoted to "medical center" status three years ago, when rising Medicare costs forced it to close its emergency room;despite this, the city's public-relations "machine" continues to insist that residents publicly(and proudly) continue to call it by its original name, even though it now only operates on an "out-patient services only" status.
In 1957, a dedicated group of community members, fearing annexation by neighboring cities, led a fight for incorporation. Indeed, parts of the original Rancho had already been annexed by neighboring Monrovia, Azusa, Irwindale, and Baldwin Park. At the same time, a rival group representing an affluent enclave in the foothills started a competiting drive for incorporation, and broke off to form the separate City of Bradbury. A 2001 Los Angeles Times article stated that their petition for incorporation arrived in Sacramento on August 22, 1957, "mere moments" before the petition that would have included them in the City of Duarte. Still, ties between the two communities remain in that they both form the Duarte Unified School District, share the same post office and ZIP code, and have combined public services such as Los Angeles County Sheriff (which for both cities is labeled "Duarte") and garbage pickup;however, the U.S. Postal Service has announced that effective next year, Duarte will have the "91010" ZIP code all to itself, when neighboring Bradbury finally gets its own ZIP code, 91008
The original city logo was created by Bill Botts Sr. in 1957.It consisted of a double-circular seal, with the inner circle containing an adobe arch featuring the Rancho Azusa de Duarte "d" brand(inside the arch is the original date of the Rancho's establishment, 1841) while the outer circle features the year of Duarte's incorporation(1957).The current city logo was created in early 1982(marking Duarte's 25th anniversary of cityhood, but most long-time residents say it was more like 1985).
Like many of its neighbors, modern Duarte is a bedroom community. The City of Duarte is geographically isolated from population centers to the east and south due to the San Gabriel River and rock quarry operations in Irwindale and Azusa. These factors have proven to be an ongoing economic challenge for local businesses as the city attracts little outside spending, and most residents spend their money elsewhere. Still, over the past few decades, the city leadership has succeeded in bringing retail development to the western portion of Duarte beginning, notably, with the redevelopment of the Big Sky Drive-in Theater as a shopping plaza with a Gemco superstore (which is now a Target). Later, a Wal-Mart also opened on the western edge of the city. The city expects to welcome a new mini-shopping center (to include a Best Buy store) at the site of its Staples store (which is supposed to be revamped) by the end of 2007.
The city has a council-manager government with a five-member city council.
Duarte contracts with the L.A. County Sheriff's and Fire Departments for their respective services, but also has its own in-house "Department of Public Safety", which consists mainly of four officers and a DPS director;their roles are to enforce the Duarte Municipal Code sections regarding illegal solicitation by out-of-town ice-cream vendors, licensing of dogs, and issuance of special bicycle permits for the town's younger residents.
Notable residents have included:
Notable births are: