The land of modern-day San Gabriel was originally occupied by the Tongva peoples, Native Americans whom the Spaniards referred to as the "Gabrieleno". The Tongva's name for the area is Shevaa. San Gabriel was originally begun by Father Junipero Serra as the fourth of 21 California Missions, Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. This Mission is known as the "Pride of the California Missions". The first U.S. census in 1860 lists 586 residents of the area. By 1913, that number had grown to over 1,500. San Gabriel is also often referred to as the birthplace of the modern Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Top Notch Education
San Gabriel has proven itself a great place to educate young minds. The 2009 API reports designated the San Gabriel Unified School District as one of the best in California. Gabrielino High School regularly scores among the top scores possible for California public schools. San Gabriel offers five public elementary schools, all of which are named after former presidents. The city's one middle school, Jefferson Middle School, is designated as a California Distinguished School. There are three public high schools, of which Gabrielino High School has been named one of America's Best Public High Schools, ranking it within the top 3 percent in the country.