The name referred to the “Pass Through the Hills,” the natural pass through the hills to the north first discovered and used by Spanish explorers of the Portola expedition on July 30, 1769.
La Habra was founded in 1896. The first post office in the town was established in 1898 in a corner of Coy’s Store at Central (now La Habra Boulevard) and Euclid Street.
For more than 70 years, La Habra was known as the city just south of La Habra Heights where the Hass avocado, of the Hass Avocado Mother Tree, was planted by Rudolph Hass in the 1920s. The fruit from this tree has since become one of the most popular avocado cultivars worldwide. The Hass Mother Tree succumbed to root rot in 2002.
Law enforcement is provided by the La Habra Police Department, which in 2008 employed about 70 officers.