City of Cypress

5700 Orange Avenue ~ Cypress, CA 90630 ~ 714-229-6780

Cypress After World War II

After World War II, many farmers were forced out of Long Beach, because a great number of GI's wanted to live there; the farmers then relocated to Cypress. The Cypress School District had a summer playground program, an art teacher and a music teacher.

In the late 1940s, Cypress was the third largest dairy district in the United States. In 1944, the School District started the first kindergarten. Miss Dickerson was elected Superintendent of Schools. On August 3, 1947, Frank Vessels, Sr. held a race at his farm on Katella with 2,000 paid observers. They watched six races with purses of $50 and $100. Modern purses range as high as $250,000 at the same track.

In 1949 the Cypress Recreation and Park District was formed. In the 1950s, Dairy City (Cypress), Dairyland (La Palma) and Dairy Valley (Cerritos) were known as Moo Valley. In 1952, the School District hired a full-time nurse.

In 1956, the school district hired a psychologist and the population of the city was 1,616 people, 24,000 cows. On July 24, 1956, Cypress was incorporated and named Dairy City. The first City Council consisted of: Alfred E. Arnold (Mayor Pro Tem), Walter J. Arrowood, Thomas A. Baroldi, Jacob Van Dyke, (Mayor) and Jacob Van Leeuweer, Jr.

At the first City Council meeting, H. Rodger Howell and M. S. Bernard were appointed City Attorneys; Nat H. Neff was appointed City Engineer, and Martin Olsthoorn was appointed City Clerk. The City's first Chief of Police, Ralph R. Ellsworth, and first City Manager, Burton Wesenberg, were appointed at the second City Council meeting.

Based on a straw vote of the residents on August 6, 1957, the City's name was changed to "Cypress". The ballot result was 208 votes in favor of "Cypress" and and 41 votes against change.

City Engineer Nat H. Neff was also appointed Planning Director. J. A. Scherman, County Fire Warden, was appointed Fire Chief for the City of Cypress, and M. W. Hansen was appointed as the new Chief of Police. The firm of Diehl Evans and Company, was retained to handle the City's Accounting and Auditing.

The City proceeded under the Annexation of Uninhabited Territory Act of 1938 to annex territories known as the Oosten Annexation, Vessels Annexation, Arnold Annexation, Correia Annexation and Schipper Annexation, based on the property owner's names.

A general election was held April 8, 1958, whereby three City Council positions were up for election. As a result of the election, Walter Arrowood and Thomas Baroldi were reelected and Martin G. McCarney replaced Jacob Van Leeuwen, Jr., as Council Member.

In 1959, the School District built a second school, named after Dan Mackay for his 28 years on the school board. The City continued to annex territory known as the Lawrence, De Potter and Dillon annexations. By the end of the year, a Master Plan of Arterial Highways was approved.

In 1960, Fred D. Harber replaced Burton Wesenberg as the City's second City Manager, and a Building Department was established for the City. During the decade of the 60s, the City Council voted the dairies out of town within 10 years to make room for residents. The first major housing tract was approved with 600 acres sold at $6,500/acre by the Standard Development Corp. Zoning was changed on 400 of those acres by a 3-2 vote.

The Los Alamitos Race Track was made a part of Cypress because of a less-tax promise the City made. It's still a major income producer for the City.

Forest Lawn came into the City and the residents voted to change the zoning for the cemetery, and close Denni, north of Lincoln. At the April 12, 1960, general election, Jacob Van Dyke was reelected and John J. Denni, Jr. was elected to replace Alfred E. Arnold.

In 1961, the city's population was 4,100. A Street Lighting District was established to install and maintain a street lighting system. The City Council approved a Master Plan for Drainage. Robert K. Rogers was appointed as the third City Manager.

In 1962, Elizabeth Dickerson School opened. John M. Toups was appointed Acting City Manager. At the general election, Peter D. Gorzeman, Frank P. Noe, and Mark L. Wright were elected to the City Council. On July 1, 1962, Darrell Essex was appointed the fourth City Manager, a position he would hold for 34 years.

In 1963, Lee Damron and Clara J. King schools opened. The City Council established the City's Personnel Rules and Regulations. Juliet Morris and Robert C. Cawthon schools opened in 1964, and Frank Vessels, Sr. School opened in 1965.

Cypress College opened in 1966, on a former dairy pasture. Margaret Landell School also opened that year. In 1967, Christine Swain School opened and the Cypress Civic Center, at 5275 Orange Avenue, was dedicated. Prior to 1967, city hall, the police department and the jail were located in a small red house, on what is now the corner of Lindsey Lane and Walker Street.

In 1968, A.E. Arnold School and Steve Luther schools and the District Offices opened. Cypress was the first district in the county to send the sixth graders to Outdoor Camp.

In 1970, the city's population was 31,026.

The City of Cypress and the Recreation and Park District continued to grow and, in March of 1973, the Cypress City Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a bond election to provide $2,750,000 for the District’s development plans. Voters passed the issue by a 73% affirmative vote.

Almost a quarter of the bond proceeds were used to construct a Community Center (completed in 1974) that serves the recreational needs of residents and organized groups from the entire District. The remainder of the proceeds were used to acquire 18.2 acres of new open space in addition to developing community park facilities, a nature park, eight neighborhood parks, and five local school/park areas.

The County library was moved from the building in Cedar Glen Park, which became the Boys and Girls Club, to its present location at 5331 Orange Avenue in 1976.

The 1980 census showed that Cypress had a population of 40,391.

The Cultural Arts Commission was established in 1985.

The Cypress Recreation and Park District celebrated its 40th birthday in 1989.

The 1990 census showed that Cypress had a population of 42,694.

The School District celebrated its centennial in 1995.

On July 1, 1996, Mark Ochenduszko became the City's fifth City Manager.

In 1997, 30 years after City Hall’s grand opening in 1967, the original interior carpeting, paint, overhead lighting, countertops, exterior doors, waiting area furniture and wallpaper, were replaced with updated equipment, materials and colors.

As part of this upgrade, the room which served as a print shop in City Hall was transformed into The Executive Board Room and the print shop was relocated to a larger facility at the Maintenance Yard.

In late 1998, construction was begun to revitalize the appearance and function of Lincoln Avenue. As the primary commercial corridor within Cypress, Lincoln Avenue is integral to the City's well-being. From the bridge at Bloomfield Street to the intersection at Valley View Street, the entire length of the street was redesigned to enhance its economic vitality and potential as well as its visual image. The "new" corridor was rededicated in August of 1999 with new landscaping, lighting, a clock tower on Walker Street, and entry monuments at both entrances to Cypress.


The preceding history is from the News-Enterprise Archives, written by Eileen Wheeler and Dr. Warren Beck. It is reprinted here with permission.