Westminster, a city in northern Orange County, California, is well-known for the large number of Vietnamese immigrants that settled there in the 1980s. With 36,058 Vietnamese Americans and the largest municipal predominance of Vietnamese Americans (40.2% in 2010), Little Saigon is known as the “capital” of overseas Vietnamese. A section of the town is called Little Saigon.
Westminster is bounded on the west by the city of Seal Beach, on the north and east by Garden Grove, and on the south by Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley. Although a small piece of Garden Grove is located between the two communities, Westminster is located east of Santa Ana, the county seat of Orange County. Except for a short stretch where Midway City borders Huntington Beach on the south, Westminster borders the unincorporated part of Midway City. The majority of the Little Saigon neighborhood is located between Hazard Avenue and Bolsa Avenue.
Rev. Lemuel Webber established Westminster as a Presbyterian temperance settlement in 1870. The Westminster Assembly of 1643, which established the fundamental beliefs of the Presbyterian religion, is the source of the name. Farmers refused to harvest grapes in the early years of its history because they connected grapes with alcohol.
When Westminster was formed in 1957, there were 10,755 people living there. Tri-City was the original name of the city since Westminster, Barber City, and Midway City were going to be combined to form it. The only city left to be merged into the newly formed Westminster was Barber City after Midway City ultimately declined to do so. West of the present-day city of Westminster is where the historic Barber City was situated.
In 1996, Westminster was given the All-America City Award.
A Hispanic man sued the Westminster School District in Mendez v. Westminster (1947) for forcing his daughter, Sylvia Mendez, to attend a school for Mexican children. They ultimately prevailed, starting the desegregation process. Later, on February 15, 2011, President Barack Obama gave Sylvia Mendez the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Westminster Mall, which has more than 180 retailers, is the city’s main shopping center. Between Goldenwest Street and Edwards Street, to the south of the 405 Freeway, is where you’ll find the mall. The Asian Garden Mall (Phc Lc Th), a sizable Asian mall, is located in Westminster’s Little Saigon neighborhood.
The DVS Shoes footwear brand moved from Torrance, California, to Westminster after joining Sequential Brands. The company’s main office is on Fenwick Lane.
Four school districts have boundaries that cover parts of Westminster:
- Westminster School District
- Garden Grove Unified School District
- Huntington Beach Union High School District
- Ocean View School District
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