Early map of Arcadia, which was incorporated in 1903.
The map shows the Santa Anita Race Track, Southern Pacific Railroad's Monrovia Branch and the Southern California Railroad Line. There is no sign of Anita Baldwin's estate, constructed in 1914.
Arcadia was originally part of "Rancho Santa Anita", and owned by the Alcada of teh San Gabriel Mission, Claudio Lopez. It was named after a family relation named "Anita Cota", on his wife's side. In 1839, a large area of land that included the present-day borders of Arcadia was sold to a Scottish immigrant, Hugo Reid.
The land holding changed owners several times before being acquired by the real estate speculator Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin in 1875. Baldwin purchased 8,000 acres of Santa Anita for $200,000. Upon seeing the area, Baldwin gasped "By Gads! This is paradise!". Upon buying the land, Lucky chose to make the area his home and immediately started erecting buildings and cultivating the land for farming, orchards and ranches.
In 1885, the main line of the Santa Fe Railroad, in which Baldwin was a stockholder, was opened through the ranch, making subdivision of part of the land into a town site practical. In 1889, on a site just north of the corner of First Avenue and St. Joseph Street, adjacent to the Santa Fe tracks, Baldwin opened the 35 room Hotel Oakwood to be the centerpiece of his new town.
By the turn of the 20th century, Arcadia had a population nearing 500, and a economy that was becoming based on entertainment, sporting, hospitality and gambling opportunities; the latter including an early version of the Santa Anita race track. Baldwin went on to oversee Arcadia's incorporation in 1903 and became the city's first mayor. His daughter, Anita Baldwin, built a stately mansion named Anoakia in 1914 on 19 acres of land. Anita converted the home into "The Anoakia School for Girls".