Westminster is a city in northern Orange County, California. It is known for a large number of Vietnamese refugees who immigrated to the city during the 1980s, settling largely in the area now officially named Little Saigon, and the city is unofficially known as the “capital” of overseas Vietnamese with 36,058 Vietnamese Americans and at 40.2% (2010), the highest municipal prevalence of Vietnamese Americans.
Originally, the city was named Tri-City because it was the amalgamation of three cities: Westminster, Barber City, and Midway City. Midway City ultimately turned down incorporation, leaving Barber City to be absorbed into the newly incorporated Westminster. The former Barber City was located in the western portion of the current city of Westminster.
Westminster is landlocked and bordered by Seal Beach on the west, by Garden Grove on the north and east, and by Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley on the south.
The city’s major shopping mall is Westminster Mall, which consists of more than 180 stores.Its unique symmetrical exterior is only surpassed by its beautiful interior. Its anchors, JCPenney, Macys and Target, rank in the top percent of their companies’ regional stores. The mall is located south of the 405 freeway, between Goldenwest Street and Edwards Street. And in Westminster’s Little Saigon community, the Asian Garden Mall (Phước Lộc Thọ), a large Asian mall, exists.
Since joining the Sequential Brands company, the DVS Shoes footwear brand relocated from Torrance, California to Westminster. The company’s headquarters is located on Fenwick Lane.
Winning the All-America City Award in 1996, Westminster has become a vibrant community with much to offer it’s residents and visitors. Coastline Community College serves the community at its satellite campus located adjacent to the Westminster Rose Center, which includes a 411 seat theater and convention/banquet center for community events and programs. Westminster Mall is the city’s major shopping mall which contains more than 180 stores.
Anyone interested in the everyday life of Westminster residents in the 19th and early 20th century need look no further than the Blakey Historical Park and Museum. Exhibits include the McCoy-Hare House, which served as the community’s first drugstore, built in 1874. The fully restored and furnished 1915 Warne farmhouse with its barn and windmill is another major attraction. The park is operated by the Westminster Historical Society. Special arrangements for guided tours are available.
The Vietnam War Memorial Project was initiated by Westminster City Councilman Frank G. Fry in 1997. A committee was formed to select a sculptor/designer. Tuan Nguyen, a renowned sculptor/designer was unanimously chosen to sculpt the statue and design the immediate surroundings.
Westminster was founded in 1870 by Rev. Lemuel Webber as a Presbyterian temperance colony. The name is derived from the Westminster Assembly of 1643, which established the basic tenets of the Presbyterian faith. During the early years of its history, farmers refused to harvest grapes since they associated grapes with alcohol.
Westminster was incorporated in 1957, at which time it had 10,755 residents. Originally, the city was named Tri-City because it was the amalgamation of three cities: Westminster, Barber City, and Midway City. Midway City ultimately refused incorporation, leaving only Barber City to be absorbed into the newly incorporated Westminster. The former Barber City was located in the western portion of the current city of Westminster.