Pictured is the Metro Blue Line Station in Vernon, California. The City of Vernon has less than 100 residents, yet houses more than 1,800 businesses that employ approx. 50,000 people. Vernon doesn't have any hotels to speak of and isn't really a tourist destination, either. It is industrial and not a place you would visit unless you were on a business trip doing work with companies located there. The housing, itself, is owned by the city and houses are rented, leased or provided mostly to city employees. If you wanted to live in Vernon, you would not readily find housing nor hotels. So what's there to do in Vernon? Work!
The City of Los Angeles has explored the concept of annexing Vernon, which operates like a business and as such, does not have to cope with affordable housing issues and other costly endeavors other cities face. Who wouldn't want a revenue-generating location such as Vernon, home to food, agriculture, apparel, steel, plastics, logistics and home furnishings industries. Located southeast of downtown Los Angeles just a few minutes by car, and comprised of 5.2 square miles, Vernon was incorporated in 1905 as the first exclusively industrial city in the Southwestern United States. Named after a dirt road, Vernon Avenue, city founders (who were ranchers) marketed it as a "Sporting Town."
In 1908 Jack Doyle opened the Vernon Avenue Arena where 20-round world championship fights were. Next, Pacific Coast League built a ballpark which became home to the newly formed Vernon Tigers baseball team. They won three Consecutive league pennants.
In 1919 Vernon opened a giant stockyard and meat packing quickly became the city's signature industry. 27 slaughterhouses were in Vernon till the 1960s.
Other corporations that have had plants in Vernon include: U.S. and Bethlehem steel, Alcoa, Owens glass, American Can, Studebaker, Norris Industries, Brunswig, General Mills, Kal Kan, Farmer John and Swift.
Vernon was one of the first companies to establish its own electric utility which is still operational today.
Vernon is just one of 25 cities in the United States with a Class 1-rated fire department and one of four cities in California with its own health department, which specializes in industrial issues. The city's businesses receive very low rates for water, electricity, gas and telecommunications as a result of Vernon's independent utilities. In 2008, Vernon was named Los Angeles County's "Most Business Friendly City" for Cities with less than 50,000 residents by the L.A. County Economic Development Corporation.