Home » California » Glendale

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.



Basic Information

Type of Place
Metro Area
Los Angeles/San Diego
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
City Apologized, Changed Policies

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1910 2706 0
1920 13536 22
1930 62738 38
1940 82582 68
1950 95702 68
1960 119442 62
2000 194973 123960 2468 31424 629 38452 16715

Method of Exclusion

  • Private Bad Behavior
  • Zoning

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


Glendale’s black population between 1930 and
1960 was overwhelmingly female, indicating that
they were mostly live-in domestic workers.

A brochure for a subdivision in Glendale, not
dated but probably from the 1930s, advertises
“Racial Restriction” (restrictive covenants) as a

“[My dad] thought it was during WWII (he’s 88
yrs old), but was not sure. He said an aunt came
from Arkansas for a visit and she brought her a
Black lady with her, who was a friend and possibly
her domestic help at home. After two days of
visiting, someone knocked on the door and told her
that the Black lady had to leave. She could not even
be there for a visit. She was not allowed to be there
after dark and she shouldn’t have been there for the
two days that she was.”
-posted to the web, 2005

During World War II, a “Freedom Train”
traveled around the country, carrying the
Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and
other various founding documents of the United
States. “On his national radio broadcast he stated
that the train would not stop in Glendale because
Negroes could not stay there after dark. My wife
saw black maids having to run to the bus stop so
they would not be caught there after dark. The
police would pick black people up and drop them
off at the city limits… [My wife] remembers talking
to a policeman friend of ours some years later and
he said that they stopped any black person after
dark because they did not live there… We took the
kids to the Verdugo Plunge (swimming pool) in
Glendale [in the 60s]. There was a sign that said
only for residents of Glendale. We are white and did
not want to go back home, so we paid our money
and they did not ask for our drivers license or
identification. I was puzzled how they monitored
whether or not I was from Glendale. Then I realized
that was a way to keep blacks out since no blacks
lived in Glendale.”
-former resident of Glendale and nearby towns,

“[My husband] recalls that there was a sign
posted at the bus stop [in the early 1940s] advising
coloreds to be out of the city by sundown. This was
for the benefit of domestics.”
-posted to the web, 2005

“I was born [in Glendale] in 1935 and lived
there until just after I graduated from high school
in 1953… We were on the streetcar line, and the
police would pick up any ‘person of color’ waiting
for public transportation after dark, and drive them
to the city limit so they would be out of town after
sundown. And there were scares after the ’50s that
‘blacks’ were attempting to move in using
subterfuges. I remember my first supervisor in the
county welfare department who was black… who
bought a house in a nearby community which had a
Glendale zip code. He laughed a lot about that,
since he would not have been actually able to buy a
house in Glendale.
“Hispanics and people of Arabic and Armenian
descent were tolerated, but only if they lived in
areas in the part of town bordering Los Angeles,
not in the ‘upper’ part nearer the hills. The only
black kids I ever saw were at church camp. There
were no hispanic kids in any of the public schools I
attended there. I never spoke to a black person,
and few hispanic persons until I went away to
“The municipal ordinance barring blacks was
taken off the books shortly after the first civil rights
legislation was passed by Congress, but the real
estate restrictions remained.”
-posted to the web, 2005

“We know for fact from my Grandma that the
police enforced [blacks] not living with a family as a
-posted to the web, 2006

“We had a black housekeeper [who] had to be
out of Glendale by dark. I have no idea how they
got around. At one time, one of [a relative’s]
neighbors apparently was proposing to sell their
home on Glenmont Road to a black family. The
neighbors reportedly burned a cross in the yard and
no black family ever moved to Glenmont Road in
my recollection.”
-posted to the web 2006

“When I lived in La Crescenta, just north of
Glendale in the 1970s, locals told me that Glendale
had maintained a ‘no blacks allowed after sundown’
ordinance on the books until the end of World War
II. I’m not sure that I believe that an actual
ordinance to that effect was still on the books that
late. Of course, just because it isn’t in writing
doesn’t mean it doesn’t get enforced. I would guess
as well that Glendale, the center of KKK activity in
the L.A. area right after World War II, might have
effectively been a sundown town.”
-CA resident

Regardless of its history, Glendale is not now a sundown town.

Email Message 1/8/08: Apparently, one would also have problems in Glendale if they were Italian, with olive complexion.

According to my Italian aunt, during the mid-1950’s her parents lived just on the other side of the Glendale/Los Angeles city line, in the part of L.A. known as Eagle Rock.

One late afternoon (sometime in the Fall of 1955), as was their custom, my aunt’s parents were taking a stroll and had unknowingly crossed into the city of Glendale. By the time it was dark they had reached Holly Ave. & Harvey Dr. (near what is now Glendale Adventist Medical Center), when they decided to turn back and head home. But as luck would have it, that’s when a Glendale PD squad car passed by, the officer saw my aunt’s parents (with their olive-complexioned skin), stopped them, and began questioning them (e.g., who were they, what were they doing in Glendale at that hour, etc.).

The Glendale PD officer realized these were not blacks, and decided to give them a “break”. Instead of putting them in the squad car and driving them to the Glendale/L.A. city line, he let them go with the warning that they needed to leave Glendale immediately and return home. Needless to say my aunt’s parents complied, and every 5-10 minutes, the police officer would drive to check on their “progress” in leaving Glendale.

When my aunt’s parents reached what is now Colorado & Eagle Glen–the dividing line between Glendale & L.A., the “surveillance” by Glendale PD stopped.

My aunt’s parents continued to take their late afternoon walks, but after that incident, they NEVER walked in Glendale again.