Good Neighbors Who Changed AmericaThe story of Hawthorne, CA is a colorful one indeed. It is one full of achievers who have gone on to change America as we know it today. The dreams and creative ideas of those who have gotten their start in the City of Good Neighbors is nothing short of remarkable. Very few cities in America can claim a "hall of fame" of native sons and daughters as this relatively, small suburb. The history behind these "society changers" is not well known. For what these former and present Hawthornites have done to change America, Hawthorne, could be called the "incubator of Americana".
Who are these people? What was it that drove them to fame? The people of Hawthorne are in need of some civic pride. We just might find some in our past. We need to build on it to move forward. As we celebrate our city's 90th year of incorporation, the Hawthorne Historical Society would like to share with our current residents the stories of these high achieving individuals who have lived or worked in Hawthorne. They had big dreams and have lived out those dreams. Some of those dreams have permanently changed how we live our lives.
Hawthorne is situated somewhere between the bright lights of Hollywood, the panoramic views of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean. In the early years of settlement, travelers would pass through Hawthorne on their way to Redondo Beach to visit the beaches or get on a ship. The street cars would later use the main north-south line that split Hawthorne in half, Hawthorne Boulevard. Since the tracks ran down the center of the route, the "boulevard" became the thoroughfare by which people would get to where they were going. Only if they were stopped by a Hawthorne cop for speeding did they stop inside the city.
Hawthorne has been searching for an identity for over 100 years, not really wishing to be swallowed up by Los Angeles and not really fitting in with the "beach cities" of Redondo, Manhattan or Hermosa. Hawthorne has always been "caught in the middle". Maybe that is why so many have thrived in this city. There has never been anyone who has said, "No we don't do things like that here." Hawthorne was and still is just a five mile square piece of land that has allowed people to do their "thing". The city has allowed so many to live, dream, test and win. It has been a great place to try. (This short intro is just the beginning of several articles to document our history.) Can any other American city our size top this list of hall of famers?