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Torrance is the largest of the South Bay cities totaling 20 square miles and a population of 147,000 people. Torrance was recently rated the 32nd most livable city in America by the website receiving high grades for the quality of its educational system, and amenities such as parks, climate and affordability of housing. Torrance was originally part of the Tongva Native American homeland. In 1784 it was included in a land grant to Juan Jose Domingo by King Carlos III of Spain. In the early 1900s, real estate developer Jared Sidney Torrance saw the value of creating a mixed industrial, residential community south of Los Angeles. He purchased part of the land grant and hired landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. to design a new planned community. The resulting town was founded in October 1912 and named after Mr. Torrance. This area has become known as Old Torrance and includes the original downtown shopping area. Nearby are neighborhoods of charming Craftsman or Spanish style cottages. Post Avenue features impressive homes originally built for the elite residents of the newly formed city.

The 1950’s and 1960’s saw rapid expansion of the city beyond its original borders. Soldiers returning from WWII and their new brides relocated to sunny Southern California and eagerly bought the new tract homes that sprang up everywhere. It seems that the city grew to its present size, almost overnight. Wartime industries were transforming into post-war aerospace manufacturers. Eventually, three major Japanese car makers located their American headquarters in Torrance adding to the substantial employment base.

As a result of the building boom of the 1950’s, Torrance is a community of quiet conforming neighborhoods. In addition to the Old Torrance area, the city is divided into several other sections including North Torrance which offers the most affordable home prices and easy access to freeways. West and South Torrance are located at the Redondo Beach border within close proximity to local beaches. The exclusive Hollywood Riviera area, which sits in the foothills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula offers ocean or city views just a short walk to the beach.

Located within Torrance is a rare urban wetland called The Madrona Marsh. This nature preserve was saved from development by citizen activists and provides a stop for many species of birds migrating on the Pacific Flyway. The nature center located there is a favorite field trip for elementary students.

The biggest event in Torrance is the annual Armed Forces Day Parade which is the longest running military parade sponsored by a city in America. The parade runs the length of tree-lined Torrance Boulevard and features military vehicles, school bands and prominent community members. It always draws a big crowd.

The Torrance Cultural Arts Center hosts events year-round providing diverse cultural, educational and entertainment experiences. The Western Museum of Flight is another popular venue offering tours of vintage airplanes and displays of aviation memorabilia. Del Amo Mall, located along Hawthorne Boulevard, is the 5th largest retail mall in the country and is packed with large department stores, small boutiques, movie theatres and multiple dining choices. The mall has undergone recent major remodeling to bring it in line with current shopping and entertainment trends.

Home prices here are moderated by Torrance’s location a bit inland from the beach. A starter home in West Torrance featuring 3 bedrooms and 2 baths in about 1150 square feet can be bought for about $800,000. A remodeled ocean-view home in desirable Hollywood Riviera will cost you about $1,600,000. In a city the size of Torrance, there are many options for home buyers including post-war tract homes in a quiet neighborhood, newly built townhomes in small gated communities, ocean view single family homes within walking distance of the sand or vintage Craftsman cottages in Old Torrance. It’s a safe, diverse community that is the perfect place to live and raise a family.

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