FOCUS : Orange County Locale with a Midwestern Flavor

Clipboard researched by Susan Greene, Dallas Jamison and Henry Rivero / Los Angeles Times. Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

In 1922, farmer John Harper laid out streets, installed sidewalks and by the next year began to sell lots near Seal Beach. This area became known as Midway City, due to its central location halfway between Santa Ana and Long Beach.

Stagecoach travelers started using the area as a watering hole and wealthy Huntington Beach oilmen took up residence in the area to escape the smell of the black gold.

Midway City is the only area in Orange County that incorporates its chamber of commerce and homeowners association, which in concert act like a city council. Monthly meetings, formerly held at the American Legion Post, now take place in front of big audiences at the new community center. The fact that someone brings homemade cakes and coffee to these meetings might have something to do with the attendance. Street lights, water supply, zoning and Neighborhood Watch are some of the topics that are dealt with regularly. And while the final decision is up to the county supervisor, the chamber of commerce and homeowners association are taken quite seriously and usually get what they want.

The county purchased about 5 acres of land from Southern California Edison and two years ago, with assistance from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, built Midway Meadows, a project consisting of 92-one bedroom apartment units for senior citizens. Six months later the Midway City Community Center was established across the street.


This close-knit unincorporated area bears a close resemblance to many Midwestern communities. There are still some people in Midway who first met here, went to school here, wed here, and are now celebrating their 25th anniversary here. Midway Citians are independent, extremely friendly and proud of their small-town heritage.

Statistics Population: (1987 est.) 5,798 Median household income: $32,993 Racial/ethnic mix: white, 84.3%; Latino, 17.0%; black, 1.2%; other, 14.5% (Total is more than 100% because racial/ethnic breakdowns overlap)

Employment status Employed persons: 2,584 Unemployed: 120 Not in labor force: 1,427 Per capita income: $8,275

Education Adults over 25 Years of school completed: 0-11 years: 26.1% 12 years: 36.7% 13-15 years: 23.2% 16+ years: 13.9% Median years completed: 12.6


Statistics: Donnelley Demographics