What better way to know the history of the city than to know the origin of its street names? Here are where our major street names came from:
Centinela Ave. - Spanish for "Centinel," the name given to the fortress-like hill which overlooks Westchester and Inglewood.
Cesar E. Chavez Ave. - Mexican-American activist who co-founded the United Farmworkers Union and inspired empowerment and social justice for Mexican-Americans.
Figueroa St. - Spanish for "Grasshopper street." During the Spanish-era pueblo days, there were farms (and grasshoppers) along the street.
La Brea Ave. - Spanish for "The Tar." The street, from Hollywood to Baldwin Hills, runs over an old oil field.
La Cienega Ave. - Spanish for "The Swamp," where this part of what was to be West L.A. was swampland.
La Tijera Ave. - Spanish for "The Scissors." La Tijera, a diagonal street, cris-crosses several major thoroughfares like a pair of scissors.
Lankershim Blvd. - Isaac Lankershim (1819-1882), agriculturalist who helped make the San Fernando Valley a successful farming region.
Mulholland Dr. - William Mulholland (1855-1935), Built the Los Angeles Aqueduct in the 1920s to bring water to the city, which allowed it to grow into the metropolis we know today. Also established the Department of Water and Power (DWP).
Olympic Blvd. - Obviously named after the Olympiad, but not in 1932 -- Los Angeles previously bid for the games in 1928 (eventually losing out to Amsterdam) and re-named the former 10th St. in the heat of Olympic-mania.
Pico Blvd. - Pio Pico (1801-1894), former governor of Mexican-Era California.
Sepulveda Blvd. - Named after the prominent Spanish Mexican family who owned numerous ranchos around Southern California.
Sherman Way. - Moses Hazeltine Sherman (1853-1932), land developer who built a streetcar line and owned property in the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. Also served on the Los Angeles Water Board.
Slauson Ave. - Jonathan Sayre Slauson (1829-1905), entrepreneur, developer and Board of Education member. Founded the town of Azusa.
Van Nuys Blvd. - Isaac N. Van Nuys (1835-1923), farmer who developed wheat fields in the San Fernando Valley along with his father-in-law, Isaac Lankershim.
Wilshire Blvd. - H. Gaylord Wilshire (1861-1927), entrepreneur, failed politician and inventor and socialist who founded the town of Fullerton as well as developed the street that bears his name.