As far as the eye could see, Rancho San Antonio was covered with thousands of head of grazing cattle, sheep and horses, large fertile fruit orchards and fields of cauliflower, beets, barley, beans, as well as dairy farms with rich butter and cheese. But change was in the air. It was almost noon on September 23, 1917, when an important part of that change took place - the selling of land that would eventually be the foundation for the beautiful city of South Gate.
"Southgate Gardens-Gateway to the Sea" had been highly advertised from Santa Monica to Santa Ana. Realtor Charles B. Hooper had arranged for 12 buses to pick up people along routes through the various towns. Excursionists travelled in everything from the latest Model 'T' Fords to high-powered Packards. The buses traveled in a procession east from Long Beach Boulevard down a dirt road about a half-mile to the Cudahy Ranch House, located on present day Santa Ana Street. The house was surrounded on three sides by cauliflower fields, as far as the eye could see. Realtor Hooper sold 268 parcels, mostly in one-half acre lots, in a subdivision with no streets, no sewers, and no water system. Parallel furrows had been plowed 50 feet apart, to indicate streets of the future; amazingly, signs stuck in imaginary intersections bore the same names which many of the city streets carry today. Some $25,000 worth of land was sold on opening day.
By the end of 1918, 125 houses had been constructed. The population was estimated at 500. Shade trees and flowers had been planted along the parkways. The community of Southgate Gardens now extended east from Long Beach Boulevard to Otis and south from Santa Ana to Independence and was still growing. The streets of Post, State and Victoria were designated the "business district" and two large lots were reserved for a school and a church. The inhabitants had already begun to crystallize into an unincorporated town.
The first school, now known as State Street school, was established with 52 pupils, opening September 8, 1919. At that time it was called Southgate Gardens School and consisted of a small frame building located on Madison near Independence. It was later moved to a site at State and Santa Ana streets, where it has been ever since. To this day, according to "Ripley's Believe It or Not", it holds a unique position because of its location between three political jurisdictions. It is located at the junction of Huntington Park, Walnut Park and South Gate.
America's famous aviatrix, Amelia Earhart, learned to fly at Kinner Field, a dirt field located on Century Boulevard at Long Beach Boulevard. She was born in Kansas in 1897 and came to California with her parents in 1921. She attended an air show in Long Beach and was immediately drawn to the idea of flying a plane. She took flying lessons from pioneer aviatrix Anita "Neta" Snook. By 1922, she had acquired her pilot's license. In 1932, Ameila became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She was also the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was awarded to her by the United States Congress. Amelia vanished without a trace in 1937 during an attempt to fly around the world.
In autumn of 1922, a petition for incorporating the town of South Gate was circulated by I.W. Lampman. The petition was signed by more than 50 qualified electors and presented to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. An election was held on January 2, 1923 to determine the will of the people. On January 20, 1923, the Board of Supervisors formally declared the incorporation of the "City of South Gate". The population at that time was 2,500 people.