A Brief History of Cherrylee

The history of Cherrylee School can be found in the colorful past of El Monte. The city was literally an oasis or island in the middle of the arid San Gabriel Valley. Situated between the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers, residents claimed that anything could be grown in the area. Between 1770 and 1830, Spanish soldiers and missionaries often stopped there for respite. They called the area, "El Monte," which in Spanish means "meadow or marsh" or "the wooded place".

In earlier days, El Monte was a stopping place for the people going to the gold fields in the North, near Sacramento. The Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration - WPA) was the largest and most ambitious New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people, to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. Schools were built and funded from this project, as evident in the thick concrete walls that are unique to Cherrylee School today.


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