El Monte is a city that is located in the southern portion of the US state of California. It is located in Los Angeles County and is one of the largest cities in the San Gabriel Valley just to the east of Los Angeles. English is the official language of El Monte, however there is a large percentage of the population that speaks Spanish.
The area around El Monte was one of the only well watered spots in the San Gabriel Valley. It was frequently visited by travelers through the valley and the spot became known as the "marsh or meadow" or in Spanish "El Monte". The land was rich for agriculture and stock grazing. Many people moved to the area to grow crops and raise cattle. The area became an especially popular spot for vineyards and wineries.
El Monte has a Mediterranean climate which means warm summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures can reach into the 80's Fahrenheit but winter temperatures rarely dip below 40. Rainfall is scarce in the warmer months. Most of the areas rainfall comes in the months of January through March.
El Monte has some connections to the southern California movie industry. In the 1920's Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gay opened Gay's Lion Farm, which was a collection of over 200 African lions that were housed in El Monte and used in the motion picture industry. The Farm grew to be quite popular with visitors and was even called the "Disneyland of the 192's and 1930's". The famous Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion was from the Gay's Lion Farm.
The El Monte Legion Stadium was the site of several rock and roll concerts in the 60's and 70's. Legends such as Johnny Otis, Alan Freed, and Dick Clark frequently performed there. Other bands who have performed in El Monte include Ritchie Valens, Rosie and the Originals, Brenton Wood, Earth Wind and Fire, and the Grateful Dead.
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