A mid-sized city in central Orange County, Garden Grove, California, is located in the southern part of the state, not far from the Pacific Ocean. It is home to around 170,000 residents is lies about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles and just a mile from Anaheim, home to Disneyland, and less than 10 miles from the local beaches and the nearest commercial airport, John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.
Garden Grove was founded in 1874 by a man named Alonzo Cook, but its development really took off in the beginning of the 20th century with the arrival of the railroad. It grew as an agricultural center where oranges, walnuts, chili peppers and strawberries were grown, but much of this industry was destroyed by an earthquake in 1933. The city officially incorporated in 1956 with more than 50,000 residents and now makes up an area of around 18 square miles.
Throughout the area, Garden Grove is best known as being the home of Robert H. Schuller's Crystal Cathedral, a religious building where a number of Christian broadcast shows are filmed. Its other claim to fame is its position as host of the annual Strawberry Festival, which is held over Memorial Day weekend and attracts nearly a quarter-million people to the area. Other annual celebrations held here include four cultural events commemorating Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic and American heritage.
Public schools in the city are run under the Garden Grove Unified School District and include 45 elementary schools, nine junior high schools, eight high schools. There also are five community colleges that offer degrees and continuing education courses. Arts and cultural attractions in Garden Grove include sites like the Orange County Symphony and three theaters: the Garden Grove Playhouse, the Gem Theater and the Festival Amphitheater, home to Shakespeare Orange County, which hosts an annual Shakespeare Festival in the summer.
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