Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Video: A Look At Some Of L.A.'s Most Historic Street Names

LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.

It is easy to traverse Los Angeles and think of Wilshire, Figueroa, or Pico as nothing more than street names. Yet, street names are one of the best/most accessible ways to learn about the history of a city. Pico Boulevard, for instance, is named for Pio Pico—the last Mexican governor of Alta California. Wilshire Boulevard, of course, is named for Henry Gaylord Wilshire, a land developer who, around the turn of the 20th century, developed the area west of MacArthur Park (then still called Westlake Park). Curious about Witmer Street in Westlake? It's named after Henry Clayton Witmer, who sold Edward Doheny the land where Doheny first discovered oil in 1892. As L.A. spans 469 square miles, there are plenty of street names with interesting stories behind them.

The great video above, created by the Seaver Center for Western History Research at the Natural History Museum, covers several more street names that illuminate Southern California's rich history.