As with many other communities in the San Gabriel Valley, Duarte began as a community via a land grant, this one of approximately 7000 acres to Don Andres Duarte in 1841. Duarte - born in 1805 at Mission San Juan Capistrano - built an adobe house on what is now Tocino Drive, just east of Royal Oaks Park, where he lived with his wife Gertrudes and son Santiago. A bronze statue of Duarte on horseback was dedicated alongside Huntington Drive (Route 66) on March 31, 2007.


Unlike other San Gabriel Valley communities, however, Duarte originated a historical society in the community in 1951, six years before officially being designated an incorporated city on August 22, 1957. The Duarte Historical Society was formed to record and illustrate the history of Duarte and surrounding areas as an early California rancho at a time when it was becoming a bedroom community.


One of the longest-running Route 66-named parades in the nation occurs in Duarte annually in September on Huntington Drive.


By Scott Piotrowski