Proudly Serving the Community for over 90 Years!

Incorporated in 1922, the City of Hawthorne currently has a population of nearly 87,000 within a six square mile area. Ideally located near the Los Angeles International Airport, connected by rail to the Port of Los Angeles and downtown Los Angeles, and surrounded by the San Diego (I-405), Harbor (I-110), and Glenn M. Anderson (I-105) Freeways, the City of Hawthorne could easily be termed the "Hub of the South Bay." By virtue of its location, Hawthorne affords easy, quick access to all that Southern California offers; culture, sports, entertainment, mountains, and beaches. Temperatures in the area are always among the most pleasant in the Los Angeles basin.

The City of Hawthorne possesses a shared vision towards the future to create a great city and build an economy which supports the community's desire for a high quality of life.

Did You Know?

  • Jim Thorpe one of the world's greatest athletes lived in Hawthorne
  • Aircraft pioneer Jack Northrop established his company in Hawthorne
  • Home of the Beach Boys!


Jim Thorpe - one of the World's Greatest Athletes
 

On Prairie Avenue, just north of Rosecrans Street, there is a park called Jim Thorpe Park. That is because Thorpe lived in Hawthorne during the late 1940s and was, at one time, considered by many "the Greatest Athlete in the World."

Thorpe excelled in virtually every sport, playing football, basketball, baseball, and participating in track and field. He had numerous major feats, especially in football and track. In track and field, Thorpe participated in the pentathlon and decathlon and swept gold medals in both of those in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. In the decathlon, Thorpe broke the World record which stood until 1928.

Thorpe also stood out in football, playing first at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. During the 1911 and 1912 seasons, his outstanding rushing ability guided Carlisle to big wins over then powerhouses Army (West Point, New York), University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. He was a three-time All-American, including first-team in his final two seasons.

For much of the time, Thorpe was know for his track and field ability but decided to try out for the Carlisle football team, head coached by the legendary Pop Warner, in the fall of 1907 when he was 20 years old. He borrowed a uniform that was two sizes too big. The players chuckled but Warner had him take the uniform off because he did not want the track and field standout to get hurt. Later, though, Warner tossed Thorpe the football and had him do some tackling practice. From there, he took off being a third-team All-American player in the 1908 season.

He also played baseball for Carlisle and pitched a no-hitter in his first start in the spring of 1908. After the 1907-08 school year ended. Thorpe signed as an infielder with a minor league baseball team from Rocky Mount of the East Carolina League. He was receiving $25 per week.

During his pro baseball stint, Carlisle's football program struggled and Warner, who along with his coaching staff called Thorpe "The greatest all-around athlete in the world' wanted him to finish college and return to the team.

One of the Thorpe's contests was against Harvard in 1911. Prior to the game, Harvard head coach Percy Haughton thought his team would walk over Carlisle and decided not to show up for the game, letting an assistant take over who would use his second string. Under nearly 30,000 fans at the contest in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Thorpe keyed Carlisle to an easy win over Harvard, which put in the starters late in the game but when Carlisle already had it well in hand.

In the summer of 1912, Thorpe participated in the Olympics in Stockholm winning the pentathlon and decathlon. When Swedish King Gustave placed a laurel wreath on Thorpe's head and a gold medal around his neck, he told him that he was the greatest athlete in the world. Thorpe replied "Thanks, King."

Thorpe, known by his granddaughter Dagmar, called Jim "very simple and a direct and truthful man." His entire family considered Jim Thorpe very gentle and simple.

Six months later, however, Thorpe had his gold medals stripped after the Amateur Athletic Association and Olympic Committee discovered that he was getting paid for playing pro baseball in North Carolina. The Olympic gold medals were awarded to the form silver medallist and his Olympic and World records were taken off the books.

Thorpe, being part Indian and raised as an American Indian, also faced a lot of prejudice that was very common during the white supremacy nation period that occurred at that time.

Thorpe scored 25 touchdowns and 203 points for Carlisle in being first-team all-American in the 1912 season. In 1913, Thorpe started his six-season Major League baseball career with the New York Giants, under legendary manager John McGraw. Six years later, however, Thorpe left pro baseball after having constant problems with McGraw after a base running mistake.

He began his pro football career with the Canton Bulldogs of the American Professional Football Association, the nation's pro football league prior to the National Football League, in 1915, the year the league began. Thorpe was player-coach-owner of the Bulldogs.

Five year later, Thorpe became president of the NFL when it first started. He played and coached for the Rock Island Independents during much of the 1920s.

Thorpe was born with twin brother Charlie at the Sac and Fox Indian Reservation on May 22, 1887. Thorpe never like school and ran away a few times. He attended Haskell Indian School near Lawrence, Kansas at age 12 but ran away and briefly worked in a Texas ranch. He returned home to his father, Hiram, but his mother, Charlotte, had died and Hiram remarried.

With Hiram's second wife too busy with their new children, Jim started playing baseball on prairies on Saturday. Thorpe hit the ball and pitched so well that he attracted semipro and college baseball scouts.

Thorpe started at Carlisle at age 16 in February 1904.

Jim's later life was sad having numerous problems with alcohol and lack of money. He was divorced twice. Living and working as a ditch digger in Los Angeles for $1 a day, Thorpe was unable to afford a ticket to the 1932 L.A. Olympics but Vice President Charles Curtis, to U.S. President Herbert Hoover, invited Thorpe to sit with him in the press box of the Coliseum. Curtis, like Thorpe, was part Indian.

Thorpe moved around a lot during the 1930s and 1940s, mostly working in bars. He lived in Hawthorne with his third wife, Patricia Askew, from 1946-49, before moving to a trailer home in Lomita where he died of a heart attack in 1953 at age 65.

After his death, some of the activities concerning Thorpe was not over. In 1982, 70 years after his feats at the Stockholm Olympics, he was reinstated into the Amateur Athletic Union status. A year later, replicas of the 1912 Olympic gold medals were issued to one of his daughters.

This was also a beginning of the Olympics admitting professional athletes for the first time in the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain.

From an article dated; December 29, 2000 in the Hawthorne Lawndale Press Tribune

 

Jack Northrop - The South Bay's True Aircraft Carrier
 

Jack Northrop made notable contributions to the development of metal aircraft. Northrop's work on metal monocoque and multicellar wing construction foreshadowed techniques used on the design of most subsequent stressed-skin all-metal aircraft.

In 1916 when Northrop was 21, the Loughead brothers brought a seaplane to Santa Barbara. Later, when they started their local aircraft factory, Northrop was one of the first employees of the new company.

The Loughead received a contract to build two Curtiss designed seaplanes for the U.S. Navy. About this time, World War I began and Northrop worked on calculating wing stress for the plane.

When the war ended the Lougheads company closed and Northrop went back to work in the construction business. Then in 1923, he heard that Donald Douglas was hiring in Santa Monica. There he designed fuel tanks for the "Round-the "World Cruiser." During this time, Northrop was also developing his own ideas at home at night. Douglas had all the conventional airplane work he could absorb and could not put Northrop's advanced ideas into production. So Northrop took them to Allan Loughead, who was so impressed that he got financial backing and formed the Lockheed Aircraft Company in 1927 to build Jack's designs.

After several years, Jack again found himself becoming increasingly involved in production, while his interest remained in advanced design. What Northrop had envisioned all along, since as far back as 1923, was a flying wing. It would be an airplane consisting of a wing and nothing else - pilot, engine, controls all enclosed in a neat, streamlined entity. With his new company at Hawthorne established and well into profitable contracts and subcontracts, Jack Northrop had the freedom to break with traditional aircraft design.

Northrop now had Walter J. Cerny as assistant chief of design to supervise the experimental program. What they quietly proceed to engineer and build during 1939-40 was the N-IM, the first true flying wing to be manufactured in the United States. Only one N-IM was built, but it was followed by other experimental models that led to the famous XB-35 and later the YB-49 Flying Wing bombers. Throughout the war years, Northrop continued working on his flying wings, but in 1949, to Northrop's intense disappointment, the Government cancelled the program. Later Northrop called the design of the flying wings "the greatest achievement of my life."

Outstanding among the products of the present day Northrop Corporation is the controversial B-2 or Stealth Bomber. when the prototype B-2 was rolled out at Palmdale, California on November 22, 1988, the 500 carefully screened guests saw a flying wing. It was first flown successfully in Palmdale, July 17, 1989.

Today, there are only three of Northrop's "Flying Wings" know left in the world. The Air Force had ordered the "Flying Wing" to be destroyed, but they are flying again today.

Jack Northrop died in 1981 at the age of 85.

From an article dated; December 29, 2000 in the Hawthorne Lawndale Press Tribune