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city, Los Angeles county, southwestern California, U.S. Located 17 miles (27 km) southeast of Los Angeles, the city was originally inhabited by Chumash Indians. The area was once a part of the Rancho Los Coyotes, a subdivision (1834) of the 1784 Spanish land grant known as Rancho Los Nietos. In 1869 Gilbert and Atwood Sproul purchased the land, and in 1873, after the railroad crossed the "North-walk" area, the Sprouls founded the city as Corvallis; the following year it was renamed Norwalk. The city developed as a service point for logging, dairying, and ranching. Norwalk was also known as a centre for some of southern California's largest sugar beet farms. It experienced rapid industrial development in the second half of the 20th century. The house built in 1870 by Gilbert Sproul was moved to Norwalk City Park and is now a museum. Cerritos (community) College was founded in Norwalk in 1955. Inc. 1957. Pop. (1990) 94,279; (2000) 103,298.