Early Days

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History of Glendora - Early Days 6000 B.C - 1885 A.D.

Compiled by Culver Heaton, Jr.

History book with fold out map showing Azusa Glendora area in the early daysFounded in 1887, incorporated in 1911 with only 700 residents, Glendora lies nestled in the shadows of the scenic San Gabriel Mountains, 26 miles east of Los Angeles. Today, Glendora is one of Southern California’s finest residential communities and has a population over 52,000.

The Shoshone Indian Tribe was the first to settle in the area. Artifacts dating back to 6000 B.C. have been found within the City limits. After the Native Americans, the Spanish came to colonize California symbolized locally by the San Gabriel Mission. Dominance by the Mexican Government over (Alta) California followed the Spaniards.

Henry DaltonEnglishman Henry Dalton purchased five Ranchos, including the 45,000 acre Rancho Azusa which included the Glendora area. In 1852, following the war against Mexico, Dalton’s right of ownership of Rancho Azusa was challenged by the U.S. government. When he died in 1884, Dalton had lost most of his property and was living in poverty.

In 1868, the Glendora district was opened for homesteading. In 1874, John Bender and William Bryant Cullen, two boyhood friends who had served in the Confederate Army, came to this area from Memphis, Tennessee. They became the first permanent settlers of the future Glendora Township. Bender, a bachelor, acquired 160 acres north of Foothill Boulevard between Grand and Pennsylvania Avenues. Cullen, with his wife and two small children, homesteaded the area between Wabash and Live Oak Avenues and Sierra Madre and Bennett Avenues. They cleared their land and planted wheat, flax, barley, castor beans, grapevines, vegetables and fruit trees. The area began to flourish as other farmers arrived during the 1870’s.

In 1875, out of necessity, land donated by J.C. Preston became the first Protestant cemetery in the immediate area. This became the burial place for residents of Glendora, Azusa, Covina and Duarte. It is located on San Felipe Hill in northwest Glendora and is known as Fairmount Cemetery.