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City of Placentia

The city of Placentia is one of the smallest cities in Orange County and is most well known for being the location of the original planting of the county’s cash crop, Valencia oranges. The name Placentia is derived from a Latin word meaning “pleasant place to live.” The City of Placentia profile includes city history and information for residential services, shopping, dining, and points of interest throughout the city.

City of Placentia, California
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About Placentia

City Of Placentia

The City of Placentia is only 6.6 square miles, and is located in North Orange County, California. Placentia is bordered by Yorba Linda, Brea, Fullerton and Anaheim. The city is predominantly residential and is considered a “bedroom community.”

While the city of Placentia does not have it’s own tourist destinations or attractions to draw in thousands of monthly visitors, it is within a short driving distance of the surrounding areas major colleges, beaches, and family attractions like Knotts’s Berry Farm and Disneyland.

Working residents of Placentia may obtain work within the city, but most commute outside of the city for work. Some commute to nearby surrounding cities like Anaheim and Fullerton. Others commute farther away to destinations like Los Angeles and Costa Mesa. The largest employer within the city of Placentia is the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District.

The city of Placentia is currently in the process of constructing multiple new developments and improving existing developments around the city. Some of the most notable developments include the Placentia Veterans Village, the Alta Vista and Rose Drive Development, and the revitalization of the Sierra Vista Plaza Shopping Center.

Placentia’s old town district is also getting rehabilitative attention. The city is revitalizing the area by restoring historic elements, developing pedestrian-friendly areas, drawing in new and unique businesses, making facade improvements to commercial buildings, and developing a new Metrolink Station.

Placentia History

The town of Placentia first attracted early settlers in 1865. Homes, churches, and schools were built as more people arrived. Placentia became a productive center for citrus production, and in 1910, A.S. Bradford convinced the Santa Fe Railroad to direct a line through Placentia. A railroad station and packing house were developed to accommodate the city’s citrus industry. It was also Bradford who laid the plans for the streets of Placentia. In addition to citrus groves, the city produced walnuts, grapes, and avocados.

A.S. Bradford’s home was built in Placentia in 1902. Today, the house is on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a museum showcasing the lives of pioneer families who turned citrus farming into their livelihoods. It is a popular destination for school and scouting field trips to learn about local history.

George Key Ranch Historic Park is another destination in Placentia where the city’s past is preserved. In 1893 George Key settled in Placentia and became the superintendent of the Southern California Semi-Tropical Fruit Company Ranch. Key’s Placentia home was completed in 1908 with a concrete block porch, library, a music room, and a second story balcony.

Today, George Key Ranch is 2.2 acres, including 1 acre of working citrus ranch from the original Sunkist orange groves, and Key’s home. The park is a museum that showcases the cities agricultural past and features a collection of farming equipment, blacksmith and carpenter tools, historical artifacts, a Verse Garden, and more.

Placentia Statistics

Size: 6.6 Square Miles
Population: 51,824 (2020)

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Heidi Deal
Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights. When she's not writing you can find her solo hiking and going on new adventures with her kids and pup.