Bradbury, an affluent bedroom community in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, has just 938 residents within its 1.9 square miles. The tiny San Gabriel Valley city has no apartment buildings or commercial development, and that’s the way residents of the rural retreat intend to keep it.
Oak-lined canyons, multi-acre lots, the sight of horses galloping on wide open spaces and the absence of sidewalks and traffic signals give Bradbury a feel of country living that residents compare to Kentucky.
Ask the locals what they like about their community and, invariably, these words crop up: “privacy,” “tranquillity” and “serenity.” About two-thirds of the 282 homes are behind guarded gates, adding a sense of seclusion. “We drive through the gates and enter a tranquil world,” said resident Lorraine Weissman.
Good news, bad news
Bradbury is one of the few Southern California communities with no Starbucks (or any coffee shop) to call its own. The city’s strict zoning laws, which prohibit commercial development, leave Bradbury without caffeine and commerce. Residents are quick to point out that the shopping, dining and nightlife of Old Town Monrovia are just to the west, and Duarte’s commercial district is nearby to the south and east.
How does a town build community when there is no community center and homes are often driving distance apart? Frequent community and neighborhood events keep people connected. Volleyball tournaments and neighborhood Halloween parties are common events. One resident hosts an annual celebrity car show.
Horses also unite the community. About half of the properties are zoned for horses, and nearly all the residents ride.
Bradbury’s small pocket of modest tract homes in the southeast corner of the city was probably what inspired residents to incorporate as a city in 1957. Tranquillity-loving residents feared their foothill community would fall victim to the bulldozers of tract developers. Today, the cachet of a Bradbury address adds at least $50,000 to the value of the modest homes on miniature lots when comparing prices with neighboring Duarte.
Up the hill from the tract area are sprawling ranch style homes on half-acre lots. Through the guarded gates of Bradbury Estates, the home and lot sizes expand exponentially. Large, stately homes on 2- to 5-acre lots are the norm in the exclusive community.
Bradbury is part of the neighboring Duarte Unified School District. The neighborhood elementary school, Royal Oaks, scored 754 (out of a possible 1,000) on the 2002 California Academic Performance Index. Scores were 596 for Northview Intermediate School and 503 at Duarte High School.
Most Bradbury residents send their children to private schools.
Only 13 homes are now on the market, with the least expensive at $949,000 for a 3,000-square-foot home on a 43,000-square-foot lot. For $4.98 million a buyer can have an 8,200-square-foot home with its own par-three, 18-hole golf course, according to Linda Medley of Century 21 Realty.
Sources: Gary Lorenzini, Coldwell Banker; Helen Lam, Re/Max Realty; Bea LaPisto-Kirtley, mayor pro tem; Edward Dilkes, Duarte city manager; Linda Medley, Century 21 Realty; https://www.cityofbradbury.org ; Duarte Unified School District.