What's Not in a Name?
Burbank was not named for horticulturalist Luther. Stanton was not so called in honor of actor Harry Dean. Nor was Carson dedicated to late-night talk-show host Johnny. These are just some of the disillusioning facts one learns over the course of living in L.A. According to
William Bright's ever-helpful guide, 1500 California Place Names, Burbank was so named for a dentist-subdivision investor and Carson takes its name from an old settler family. About Stanton, Bright has nothing to say, although the city's Web site states, somewhat equivocally, that it draws its name from an early 20th-century state assemblyman.
(Monroe and Hoover intersection image from Google Earth)
This leaves one wondering: Well, just how many of our towns and streets
are named for celebrities? The answer is, depressingly few. For
example, Monroe Street, which crosses Vermont Avenue near L.A. City
College, is not named for Marilyn, but for some president -- we think. Hollywood's
Stanley St. did not get its name from actress Kim, just as Beverly Hills' Robertson Blvd. is not
named after actor Cliff -- and that has nothing to do with
him being blacklisted in the 1970s. Ditto for Burbank's Ford St. (you guessed it -- not
for Glen) and South Gate's Abbott Road (not after Bud, the straight half
of Abbott and Costello). Is it really such a surprise, then, that Woodlawn Ave. in South L.A.
is not even named for Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn?
Who were these streets named for anyway, you ask? I have no
idea, except that they were nobodies one and all. It would take the FBI to learn their origins and J.
Edgar Hoover's long gone. And, even if he weren't, Hoover St.,
which runs from way down south to almost the moon, is not for J. Edgar named -- nor even for his boss, Herbert -- another dead president.
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