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On November 6, 1905, the Los Angeles Interurban Railway started service on the Santa Ana Line. It ran along an almost perfectly straight line between Watts (Los Angeles) and Santa Ana. Access to transportation allowed the population of the rural area which is now Stanton and West Anaheim to grow. In 1908, the privately owned Pacific Electric Railway leased the Santa Ana Line and took over the service which extended its regional light-rail system. By 1928, the impressive thousand mile system allowed residents convenient travel throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. See 1928 Map. The passenger service to Santa Ana was discontinued in 1950, shortly after the railway was taken over by the Metropolitan Transportation Agency. The easement still runs through town and is empty or used for parking. It intersects Beach/Pacific and Cerritos/Western.
The area was incorporated into the first City of Stanton in 1911. It was decided to dis-incorporate in 1924. The motivation for giving up cityhood seems to be that it would relieve city taxpayers from the financial burden of building roads. As an un-incorporated area, roads were paid for by the state. Also the main motivation for the 1911 incorporation — the city of Anaheim's 1911 plan to build a “sewage farm” west if their city — was no longer relevant. The costs of cityhood were greater than the benefit.
In the early 1950s, the area had experienced a post-war population boom, and in May 1956 the citizens decided to incorporate into today’s City of Stanton. The first city was around 16 square miles (41 km2), and today's Stanton is a bit over three square miles. The cost of being incorporated into a city is still a salient issue in this part of the county. There are many small areas around Stanton which are un-incorporated and receive their services from the County of Orange.
The City of Stanton mitigates the high costs of cityhood for a relatively small population by contracting out municipal services. Most of the police services and fire protection are provided by the Orange County’s Sheriff’s Department and Orange County Fire Authority respectively. Ambulance service is provided by a private company, Care Ambulance Service. Stanton had formed its own police department when the city incorporated in 1956, but a union strike citing poor working conditions was originally reported as the major cause of its disbanding (and takeover by the Sheriff's Department) in 1988. The City's crime rate has decreased 40% from 2007 to 2013.