To the left is a late 1896 USGS map showing the lower portion of “the Downey” quadrangle, the upper portion of the Bolsa quadrangle and the west portion of the Anaheim quadrangle, but mainly focusing on Rancho Los Alamitos and the surrounding area.
The sugar factory would be constructed later that year but the early layout of the town and the railroad tracks are already visible on this map.
I.W. Hellman’s correspondence with his then land agent Phil Stanton, reveal that the Southern Pacific was seriously considering continuing the railroad line across Coyote Creek and the New (now San Gabriel) River and connect it with their line running from downtown LA to the port. Eventually they and the Pacific Electric soon determined the soil too unstable to do this.
In the Seal Beach area, Landing Hill (now just usually known as “The Hill”) is already marked. And there are already 15-20 buildings marked alongside Anaheim Bay. Most of these were squatters to the consternation of Stanton and Hellman, who had designs on subdividing Anaheim Bay once the Sugar Factory opened and brought in a marked number of newcomers.
The surrounding Rancho Los Coyotes was already being seriously subdivided while much of the Alamitos and Cerritos ranchos stayed intact, a fact which would not really change that much over the next 45 years and made the wide-open land attractive to military.