Lake Forest is a city in Orange County, California. The population was 77,264 at the 2010 census.
Lake Forest incorporated as a city on December 20, 1991. Prior to incorporation, the community had been known as El Toro. Following a vote in 2000, Lake Forest expanded its city limits to include the master-planned developments of Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills. This expansion brought new homes and commercial centers to the northeastern boundary of the city.
Lake Forest has two lakes from which the city gets its name. The lakes are man-made, and condominiums and custom homes ranging from large to small line their shores. Neighborhood associations manage the lakes (Lake 1, known as the Lake Forest Beach and Tennis Club, and Lake 2, the Sun and Sail Club.) Each facility features tennis courts, gyms, basketball courts, barbecue pits, volleyball courts, multiple swimming pools,
saunas, hot tubs and club houses for social events.
The City of Lake Forest is located in the heart of South Orange County and the beautiful Saddleback Valley. The City's motto, "remember the past, challenge the future," is the Lake Forest way of life. The rich heritage of the past is preserved and enhanced in this contemporary city ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. Lake Forest was incorporated as a city in 1991 to help ensure that it will always be an ideal place for business to prosper and people to live, work and play.
Since being incorporated, Lake Forest has expanded its limits to include the communities of Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills. These newer communities are master planned developments that brought homes and commercial centers to the Eastern boundary of Lake Forest throughout the 1990’s.
Don Jose Serrano settled the area, which was originally called Rancho Canada De Los Alisos (the Valley of the Sycamores), through a Mexican Land Grant in 1846. The area then became known as El Toro, named after the bulls that roamed Don Jose Serrano's ranch. For more than a century, the land remained with Don Jose and his family until financial problems forced him to turn the land over to private interests. In the early 1900's, Dwight Whiting, a resident of the area, planted 400 acres of fast-growing eucalyptus trees in this growing agricultural community as an answer to the California lumber shortage.
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