Sunday, October 18, 2020

Our Names Are On The Street Grid, For Crying Out Loud

 After 7.5 years of mapping about 500 Forgotten French LA sites, I think I have a pretty good idea of what was located where.

Most of what we had has been lost over the years. As a result, most people have NO idea about the city's French history. Out of sight, out of mind. But we did not, in fact, vanish "without a trace" as another historian has claimed. There's plenty of evidence if you know where to look.

Frenchtown is long gone - lost to redevelopment by about 1940 (except for the original Taix restaurant, which remained until eminent domain took it away in 1964). The El Aliso/Sainsevain Brothers vineyard was buried by the Civic Center, Little Tokyo, and the north end of the Arts District. The 101 Freeway wiped out the Jennette Block and half of the Garnier Building. Ducommun Yard is now a bus parking lot. Many, many properties became parking lots.

What we do still have, though, are French street names. 

It's unusual for street names to change. We did lose a few, but we still have most of our French street names.

Let's take a ride.

Plaza/Union Station


Civic Center

Boyle Heights

The Valley

Griffith Park area

The Hollywoods

(Normandie, one of the longest streets in LA County, runs through Koreatown and South LA, but it's included here because it begins in Hollywood. Also, the street may have gotten its name due to Mayor Joseph Mascarel, a retired sea captain who owned a farm in Hollywood.)

The Westside



Beaudry Avenue and Victor Street. Not pictured because I can never find anywhere to park and I know better than to take a picture while driving. Also, honesty compels me to admit I'm not sure whether I should call this area "downtown" or refer to the older name of Temple-Beaudry (since Temple-Beaudry was razed for the 10).


Nadeau Drive. Not pictured because I'm never in Mid-City.


Masselin Avenue. Not pictured because I haven't been to Mid-Wilshire in years.

South Los Angeles

(To clarify: these are pre-1946 street signs from my personal collection. Nadeau Street is in South LA. Leonis Street no longer exists. If you want an antique LA street sign, hit up VintageStreetSigns on Etsy.)


City of Industry

Not pictured: Amar Road. 



San Pedro

Lost to renaming:

Dupuy Street in Temple City ("too hard to pronounce", allegedly...come on, it's "doo-pwee"). It became Primrose Avenue, but there is still a short residential cul-de-sac called Dupuy Circle.

Sentous Street downtown. The Sentous tract was redeveloped into (what else...) a parking lot for the Convention Center, and Sentous Street was renamed LA Live Way.

Henriot Street in Cypress Park. The name changed to Dayton Street, or Dayton Avenue, in 1896. Dayton later changed to North Figueroa Street.

Lost to redevelopment: 

Leonis Street downtown - not the same as the Leonis Street in Commerce or Leonis Boulevard in Vernon. Miguel Leonis named the street during his lifetime. Commerce and Vernon would not exist for many years.

Prudent Street, lost sometime between 1888 and 1894 due to redevelopment east of Alameda Street.

Marchesseault Street just below Olvera Street, which was likely obliterated because it ran into the Vice District. But it's coming back (sort of)!