Cypress is a city in Orange County, California, in the United States. The population was 50,151 according to the 2020 census.
The Gabrieleno, a Tongva Native American tribe, were the first people to live in the area that is today known as Cypress. They were displaced shortly after Europeans arrived. The territory was thereafter under the control of the Spanish government until Mexico declared independence in 1821. Following the Bear Flag Revolt and the Mexican-American War, Mexico lost Alta California to the United States.
The first Spanish dons possessed vast swaths of property throughout California, which were given to Spanish soldiers in lieu of salary. Manuel Nieto was one of the area’s first Spanish dons, or landowners. His sons kept claim to Rancho Los Nietos after his death in 1804, but these holdings were eventually divided and dispersed among them in 1833 by a concession from the Mexican governor, José Figueroa. Juan José Nieto, Manuel’s son, retained title to a major chunk of his father’s original properties in southern California, including the present-day district of Cypress. That land and other Rancho properties were subsequently sold to the American Abel Stearns, who then sold them to the Robinson Trust, a group of investors who turned their holdings into a massive land speculation company.
Cypress was originally nicknamed “Waterville” due to the abundance of artesian wells in the area, but was incorporated as Dairy City in 1956 by local dairy farmers as a means of deterring developers and preserving their dairies, similar to the then-neighboring cities of Dairy Valley in Cerritos and Dairyland in La Palma. However, after WWII, the land became too valuable for farming or ranching, and the dairies were sold out to house developers during the 1960s, until no dairies remained by the 1970s. Many of the dairymen relocated their operations to Chino, where development is forcing them out once more.
Residents voted in 1957 to alter the name of “Dairy City” to “Cypress.” The name was inspired by Cypress Elementary School, which was founded in 1895 and was named after the Cypress trees used to shield the schoolhouse from the periodic Santa Ana winds. When the Santa Ana Line was finished in 1906, Cypress Elementary School offered the name for the new Pacific Electric Railway station on Walker Street at Lincoln Avenue, as “Waterville” had already been used elsewhere in the system.
The City of Cypress established an annual birthday celebration in 1981. The Cypress Community Festival is now the largest single-day event of its kind in Orange County, California. The Cypress Community Festival is hosted every July 4th at Oak Knoll Park, which is close to the Cypress Community Center at 5700 Orange Avenue, between Valley View Street and Walker Avenue.
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