Monday, November 7, 2016

Why Is It Called Naud Junction?

In Southern Chinatown, just up the street from Philippe the Original, is an area called Naud Junction. Even Google Maps specifies it as such.

But why is it called that? It's a seemingly ordinary stretch of Alameda Street, with no junction in sight.

Los Angeles is nowhere near as crisscrossed with train and streetcar tracks as it used to be. This area has been redeveloped considerably, but Union Station is still down the street, and old maps do suggest more rail lines used to run nearby.

As for the name Naud...

Edward Naud (sometimes written as "Edouard", occasionally as "Edwin") was born in France around 1834. It isn't clear when he arrived in Los Angeles, but voter records place him there by 1871 (suggesting he had been in the US long enough to become a citizen). He seems to have visited France in 1873, returning with a wife (named only as "Mrs. Naud" on the passenger list).

I suspect that Edward most likely returned to France to remarry. Census records indicate he had a son, also named Edward, born around 1866. However, Edward's wife Louise was born around 1857. She was too young to be Edward Jr.'s biological mother. So, although I could find no record of a different Mrs. Naud, I believe Louise Naud was Edward's second wife.

Edward was a successful baker, known for making Southern California's finest pastries. But, with so many of his countrymen involved in sheep ranching, he decided to get into the wool business. Naud's Warehouse, built as a combination granary, wool warehouse, and storage facility for valuables, went up on Spring Street in 1878. Look closely at the 800 block of North Spring Street in Google Maps and you will indeed see train tracks running between Spring and Alameda.

The 1880 census lists Edward's occupation as "wine grower."By this time, the Nauds had three children - Edward Jr., now 14 and a laborer, Louise, age 4, and Louis, age 2. Edward's cousin Joseph Naud was also living with them. (At this time, Edward was 46 and Louise was 23 - half his age. Louise would have been about 16 when she married Edward. Yes, I realize this is considered creepy in 2016.)

Edward was a founding member of the French Benevolent Society. Naud Street, which is close to Los Angeles State Historic Park, was named after him. He passed away in 1881, but Louise took on business partners and kept the warehouse open. In 1905, a boxing arena was built close to the warehouse - and soon became THE boxing venue in LA.

Records on the Naud family are somewhat scarce, but the 1900 census suggests that then-34-year-old Edward Jr., still a laborer and a talented amateur chef, was boarding with the Ballade family. I have been unable to find any burial sites associated with the Nauds.

In 1915, a fire broke out on Spring Street. Naud's Warehouse was one of several buildings destroyed in the fire. Today, the former site is a parking lot (why am I not surprised?).

But, more than a century after the all-consuming fire, the area is still called Naud Junction.

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