The Whittier Historic Neighborhood is situated southwest of the Puente Hills Wilderness Preserve, in the City of Whittier, California, and traces its beginnings to 1887 when a group of Quakers formed the Pickering Land & Water Company. They purchased the 1,259-acre Thomas Ranch to begin a new Quaker community, which they named Whittier after poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Jonathan Bailey, The Company's first president and one of Whittier's founding fathers, and his wife, Rebecca, made their home in the "old" Thomas Ranch House on the property.
From those early beginnings evolved an eclectic neighborhood rich in architectural styles. Scattered among the neighborhood's predominately Craftsman-style homes can be found Spanish revival, Colonial revival, Victorian, Mission revival, Tudor, bungalow courts, guest cottages, and apartments that began to appear after WWII, when returning GIs and their young families moved into the tract homes that replaced Whittier's once abundant citrus groves. You will also see a number of newer homes that replace those lost in the 1987 Whittier Earthquake. All sit side-by-side in a charming and harmonious mix.
The devastating Whittier Earthquake was a turning point for the long declining neighborhood, which saw all of its homes damaged to a lessor or greater degree. As more and more of the damaged homes were demolished to make way for the new, a small group of alarmed citizens marched in the streets shouting, "Save our old buildings." Their actions saved countless homes and began a preservation and restoration movement that continues to attract young families back to our neighborhood. Their actions were also the catalyst responsible for the 1990 formation of Whittier's Hadley/Greenleaf Historic District which, along with the Central Park Historic District, are included in our neighborhood.