Although the City of Carson has a long and
colorful history, which dates back to the actual founding of
California, it is a very young community in terms of its age as an
Carson was incorporated as a city in 1968. Compare that to Carson's
neighbor to the east, Long Beach, which incorporated almost a
century earlier, in 1888, or to its neighbor to the west, Torrance,
which became a city in 1921.
In those intervening years, the area that is now Carson remained an
unincorporated portion of Los Angeles County, and as a result, the
young City of Carson is still struggling to overcome the penalties
that came with delaying its incorporation.
In politics, there is an acronym, "N.I.M.B.Y.", which is short for
"not in my back yard". People realize that society needs facilities
such as garbage dumps, auto dismantling centers and waste treatment
plants, but when it comes time to build them, no one wants them in
their own back yard. So when such essential facilities were needed
in the South Bay, the incorporated cities such as Torrance and
Redondo Beach had the political clout to resist the location of
such controversial projects within their city borders. Since Carson
was an unincorporated area for so long, with little political
representation, it often ended up as the dumping ground (both
literally and figuratively) of its neighbors.
By the time Carson finally incorporated as a city in 1968, its
landscape was pockmarked with the dozens of refuse dumps,
landfills, and auto dismantling plants which none of its neighbors
would have in their own cities.
As a result, the history of the City of Carson since 1968 has, to a
large extent, been the history of struggling to deal with these
problems caused by its late incorporation. And to its credit,
Carson has worked miracles in the short time since its birth as an
Following its incorporation in 1968, Carson acted swiftly to close
down most of the unwanted facilities that had been foisted upon the
city in the past, enforcing a strict building and landscaping code,
and a working to attract successful new commercial ventures to the
city. As a result, most of the heavy industry of the past has been
replaced. The new industrial parks in Carson, such as the Watson
Industrial Center, are models of cleanliness and attention to
appearance. Beautification efforts by the city have resulted in
numerous landscaped center medians, lighting projects, street
improvements and public parks.
| One of the city's first accomplishments was the
construction of the Carson Mall (now renamed the
South Bay Pavilion at Carson) in 1972. Other
notable high points include the growth of
University Dominguez Hills (and the building of
Olympic Velodrome which brought the 1984 games
to Carson), the opening of the Carson Civic Center (including
the Carson City Hall, a post office, sheriff station, a large
Carson Community Center, and a nearby Hilton hotel),
the Carson Regional Library, and the creation of a series of
fine neighborhood parks. The newest addition, the
Home Depot National Training Center, opened in 2003.
But the city has had to fight long and hard
to surmount those initial hardships, which still act as a
hurdle to the city's progress. For instance, many of the prime
building sites in Carson have a previous history as landfills
or former refineries. This means any new construction on such
contaminated industrial sites require lengthy procedures to
deal with environmental concerns.
But the City has been successful in making
the most of such problem areas, reclaiming many areas formerly
considered unusable. The new Carson Town Center,
for instance (which opened in 1996), was built on land formerly
used by the Golden Eagle refinery, while the proposed new
L.A. MetroMall will be built upon a former landfill
next to the 405 freeway.