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More City/Street Origin Names

I couldn’t get enough origin stories, so here are some more, again courtesy of the 1968 book “Los Angeles: Portrait of an Extraordinary City.”

Pico Boulevard — Named for Pio Pico, the last governor of Alta California.

Redondo Beach — Named from Rancho Sausal Redondo, meaning “round clump of willows.”

San Marino — The name comes from the tiny European country. Wealthy landowner Benjamin Davis Wilson (called Don Benito by the local natives; this is why there is an elementary school in Pasadena with that name) conveyed land to his son-in-law, James de Barth Shorb, who named it after his grandfather’s plantation in Maryland. When Henry Huntington bought the land, he kept the name.

Santa Monica — Named for Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica. But how the area got the name is in dispute. Wikipedia says it’s either because of the feast day of Saint Monica or because of two springs that reminded missionary Juan Crespi of the tears Saint Monica shed over her son’s impiety. That son became Saint Augustine.

Sepulveda Boulevard — Named for Francisco Sepulveda. The street follows the northeast boundary of Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica, which Sepulveda owned.

Spring Street — Lt. Edward Ortho Cresap Ord was a surveyor who helped map Los Angeles in 1849. He named the street after his Santa Barbara sweetheart, Trinidad Ortega, who he called his “Springtime.” In Spanish, that word is “Primavera,” so on the map, it was called Calle Primavera in Spanish and Spring Street in English.

Tarzana — Named for the Edgar Rice Burroughs character Tarzan (Burroughs lived on a ranch there).

Watts — The area originally was part of Rancho Tajauta (I’ve also seen it spelled Tajuata). Charles B. and Julia A. Watts owned a portion.

Whittier — A one-time Quaker colony was named in 1887 for poet John Greenleaf Whittier.

Wilmington — Named by founder Phineas Banning after his hometown of Wilmington, Del.

Wilshire Boulevard — Named for Henry Gaylord Wilshire, noted Socialist, lecturer, publisher and promoter.

Until next time! Use the right words!


November 30, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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