Andrew McNally, founder and president of Rand McNally Publishing Company, came to California in the 1880s. In 1888, he purchased almost 2,300 acres of rangeland, which was part of Rancho Los Coyotes, and named the area La Mirada, which in Spanish means "The View". He set aside 1,500 acres to be used for gentlemen's estates, hoping to attract friends from Chicago. On the remaining acreage, which he named Windermere Ranch, he built a home, a barn, a caretaker's home and had olive, orange and lemon groves planted throughout the area. He had a plant and a railroad station built, both on Stage Road, and shipped the finest olive oil and citrus fruit throughout the United States.
After residing here a few years, Andrew McNally turned the property over to his daughter Nannie and her husband, Edwin Neff. After a few years, their son Bill Neff and his wife, Mina, moved back to live in the home, which became known as Neff House and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. In the early 1950s, Neff sold all the surrounding acreage to a number of developers. By the end of 1955, over 8,000 new homes had been constructed.
Following three elections, two of which failed, the City of La Mirada was incorporated in March of 1960. By 1965, most of the unincorporated area surrounding the new City had been annexed. Today, with the completion of a new housing subdivision in the eastern portion of the community, the population is close to 50,000.
The City continues to offer many advantages to its residents: a variety of single-family housing, excellent parks and recreational centers, a low crime rate, and quality senior housing. La Mirada places a strong emphasis on City beautification, with well maintained parkways, streets and parks. The La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts is one of the finest in Southern California, featuring plays, musicals and children's productions. City officials and residents alike are proud of La Mirada's reputation of being "Dedicated to Service".