Temple City is part of a cluster of cities (along with Arcadia, Rosemead, Monterey Park, San Marino, and San Gabriel) in the west San Gabriel Valley with a large Asian population. In particular, a growing Mandarin-speaking expatriate population from Taiwan call Temple City home. There are more than 50 bridal gown shops and other wedding-related businesses (for example, photography) owned by Taiwanese immigrants along the stretch of the downtown area on Las Tunas Drive.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 33,377 people, 11,338 households, and 8,662 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,213.7/km² (8,313.8/mi²). There were 11,674 housing units at an average density of 1,124.0/km² (2,907.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 48.73% White, 0.92% African American, 0.44% Native American, 38.89% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 7.48% from other races, and 3.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 20.48% of the population.
There were 11,338 households out of which 36.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.8% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.6% were non-families. 19.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $48,722, and the median income for a family was $54,455. Males had a median income of $39,365 versus $32,103 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,267. About 7.2% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.2% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.
Behind the story of the proud family bearing the name of Temple, lies the romance of missions and ranchos, and the history of the San Gabriel Valley including the derivation of many of the street names in Temple City.
William Workman was an Englishman by birth. In 1823, he met John Rowland at Taos, New Mexico, and accepted him as a partner. Both Workman and Rowland married Spanish women. During the revolution in Texas, they were forced to flee with their families in fear of their lives.
They had heard of a fair land in the west and traveled to see it. They followed the old Chihuahua trail through Silver City, Yuma, and Palm Springs, west of the area now known as the Salton Sea to Indio and through the Cajon Pass. The journey covered 1,200 miles (1,900 km). The party that arrived in California consisted of 40 persons, including riders at the head, scouts, and roustabouts with pack animals, herds of cattle, and covered wagons.
After leading his friends to the beautiful San Gabriel Valley, Rowland and his friend Benito Wilson petitioned the Spanish government at Monterey for some of the San Gabriel Valley Mission lands. Rowland and Workman were granted the "La Puente" site of 48,000 acres (190 km²), where they built ranchos and settled down. They paid a sum of gold and promised to care for the Indians already living on the land, in accordance with an agreement made with the San Gabriel Mission priests and the governor.
William Workman became acquainted with Pliny Fisk Temple, who married Workman's daughter. Pliny had been baptized in the Catholic faith at the San Gabriel Mission shortly prior to accepting the Christian name of Francisco P.F. Temple.
Temple was the son of Pliny Fisk Temple of Massachusetts. Pliny's eldest brother, Jonathan, or Don Juan as he became known in Alta California, was the first merchant of the Pueblo de Los Angeles in an adobe building at the intersection of what is now Spring and Main Streets. They later built the first important buildings there, including a market, a theater, and a courthouse. In 1841, at the age of 17, Pliny Fisk Temple joined his brother at the Pueblo de Los Angeles.
That same year, the Workman-Rowland party arrived in Los Angeles from Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was then part of Old Mexico. The party was the first immigrant caravan to travel the trade route to Southern California. Trade caravans, which ran from Santa Fe to Los Angeles and back in the early 1830s were the only overland connection Los Angeles had with the East. The Workman-Rowland expedition brought rugs, blankets, and other native goods from Santa Fe. Workman and Rowland did not make the trip for commercial reasons, however, they intended to settle in the San Gabriel Valley with their families.
In 1850, "Templito," or "Little Temple" as Pliny had been nicknamed by the natives because of his five feet, four inch height, was granted the Las Merced Rancho 12 miles (19 km) east of Los Angeles where he made his home. He planted a vineyard of 30,000 vines, 30 acres (120,000 m²) of fruit trees, and a beautiful garden. This was near the site of the original San Gabriel Mission founded by the Franciscan Fathers next to the rich bottom lands of the San Gabriel Rivers called "Rio de los Temblores", or "River of the Earthquakes."
During the years at La Merced, 11 children were born to Pliny and his wife; the 10th child was Walter P. Temple. In 1903, Walter Temple married Laurenza Gonsalez, a member of an early Spanish-California family, who, it has been said, was related to half the residents of San Gabriel. Some years later, Temple purchased 400 acres (1.6 km²) of land four miles (6 km) east of San Gabriel which had been part of Lucky Baldwin's vast Rancho Santa Anita.
Envisioning a community where people of medium income could afford to live and own their homes, he divided the area into lots and laid out the park facing Las Tunas Drive. He named other streets after those close and dear to the family, such as Workman, Kauffman, Temple and Agnes. Bond issues initiated by Temple were responsible for street paving and electrification.
He also petitioned the Pacific Electric Railway Company to extend its Los Angeles to Alhambra line to a depot adjacent to Temple City Park. Residents and merchants attributed the steady growth of Temple City to the extensions of the railway to the community.
In 1936, the town officially was designated Temple City(it was originally called "Town of Temple", but the Postmaster General demanded a name change because the mail was instead being directed to the Phoenix[Arizona] suburb of Tempe), but remained a City in name only until after the post-World War II population explosion and incorporation of the community on May 23, 1960.
There are more than 50 bridal gown shops and other wedding-related businesses (for example, photography) owned by Taiwanese immigrants along the stretch of the downtown area on Las Tunas Drive.
Although the chain no longer has a store within city limits, Winchell's Donuts originated in Temple City, opening on October 8, 1948.