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James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

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

La Cañada Flintridge


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?
Don't Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Black People

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1960 18338 18238 32 17 0 6
1970 20652 20545 11 96
1980 20153 19280 25 678
1990 19378 16645 81 2397 27 892 228
2000 20318 15142 73 4180 36 976 206
2010 20246 13959 109 5214 24 1267 245
2020 20573 13412 289 7288 288 1717 1467

Method of Exclusion

  • Reputation
  • Other

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


The following quotes are all excerpted and transcribed from newspapers published in the La Canada area in 1941 (dates are provided).

“Recently, a colored family negotiated for the purchase of acreage in La Canada… They [the people of La Canada] also recognize that where folk of one race force their way amongst other racial groups, there is often discontent and bitterness. La Canadans believe that they have a right to choose the neighbors in the community that they have developed. They feel that they have the right to avoid possible unpleasantries by ‘prevention-rather-than-cure’ methods” (Editorial in the Crescenta Valley Ledger, 4/10/1941).

“’We are confronted with a serious situation in La Canada Valley,’ . . . . ‘A colored family is negotiating for the purchase of a home in this locality, a certain property owner is urging the lifting of race restrictions, and prospective restrictions either have lapsed or are on the point of lapsing in scattered tracts throughout the district.’ … In his letter, [the head of the Chamber of Commerce] urged property owners to examine the deed restrictions on their property, and he stated today that it would materially help the restriction committee if property owners were prepared to state whether or not the restrictions had lapsed” (“La Canada C of C Head Urges Large Attendance, Crescenta Valley Ledger, 4/10/1941)

“Confronted with the lapse of racial restrictions in various tracts throughout the Valley, and realizing that to restrict property against ownership and occupancy by any group or race is at once unconstitutional and impossible, residents of La Canada, joined by many residents of other sections of the valley, voted in favor of an intensive canvass to sign all property owners in a voluntary agreement not to sell to other than the Caucasian race… It was pointed out that the La Canada chamber is not race discriminatory. The body merely wishes to maintain the status quo, and thereby avoid any possible unpleasantness or racial troubles” (“Race Restriction Meet Draws Crowd”, Crescenta Valley Ledger, 4/17/1941).

“[A] long-time resident of Pasadena and an interested visitor to the local meeting, spoke on the present program under way in Pasadena, stressing the point that there is no racial discrimination in the restriction program; it is purely an economic question, for where non-Caucasians have been allowed to settle in Caucasian communities, the property values have undeniably dropped … [He] advices La Canadas to regard the question as one vital to their future land values and urged immediate and decisive action” (“Fight to Restrict La Canada Valley”, Crescenta Valley Ledger, 5/7/1941).

“Final plans for launching the second phase of the race restriction program for La Canada Valley, undertaken last Spring by La Canada Valley Chamber of Commerce, were completed last Thursday night at a conference between directors of the chamber and executives of the Land Escrow Company of Alhambra, which is handling the legal phases of the program and supervising the organization of the committees to be appointed to secure signatures… This program was launched early this year after several threats of non-Caucasian race infiltration into the Valley were brought to the attention of the Chamber of Commerce. A similar program is in the final stages of completed in the Flintridge area where owners of approximately 400 parcels of property signed agreements to restrict use and occupancy of premises to members of the Caucasian race” (“Race Restrictions Drive Under Way”, Crescenta Valley Ledger, 11/6/1941).

“Q: Why should property owners restrict the use of property to Caucasians? A: First, to protect its economic value. The value of property in an unrestricted district is destroyed when a mixed race condition develops. Second, to prevent social problems from developing, occasioned by mixed races. Third, to maintain our schools free from race problems… Q: why does the Chamber of Commerce undertake to have me sign this agreement? A: Because it is doing all that it can to make La Canada a better place in which to live. The agreement will preserve your property values, your home life, and the high standard of your schools. Q: What will this agreement mean to La Canada? A: La Canada is one of only two or three communities in the Crescenta-Canada Valley that does not NOW have a race problem. You should be proud that La Canada is your place of abode and that you own La Canada property. There is a REAL danger, however, that La Canada cannot continue to enjoy this distinction, unless YOU do your part and restrict your property” (Editorial, Crescenta Valley Ledger, 11/13/1941).

“The program was undertaken, . . . , at the instigation of a majority of residents in the Valley, and he urged immediate cooperation in order that the undertaking may be carried through to completion without delay. Some question has been raised as to the legality of the agreements, he said. Everyone may rest assured that the validity of this form of restriction has been attested by many prominent attorneys and experts on land titles, including members of the legal and title staff of the Title Insurance and Trust Company of Los Angeles and the Land Escrow Company of Alhambra he declared. No other legal method exists for placing restrictions on property that does not now have restrictions” (“La Canada chamber Holds First ‘Open Shop’ Tonight”, Crescenta Valley Ledger, 2/19/1942).

Additional oral history evidence from the 1970s.