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Historic Tales 4

 

By Tom Rische

Why is Torrance called Torrance? The city's name comes from industrialist Jared Sidney Torrance, who spearheaded development of a model "workingman's town" 20 miles south of Los Angeles, then undergoing much labor strife. Some streets, like Sartori, Cravens, Llewellen, Post, and Double, were named after other members of a board that guided the early city. Many others came from a variety of people and places that often were more fanciful.

Others recalled the Dominguez family, holding a land grant from Spain to Sgt. Juan Dominguez in the late 1700's. It included all present-day Torrance. The Dominguez Land Co. purchased the land from the heirs of Juan's nephew, Manuel Dominguez. He, his wife, Maria Engracia de Cota, his six daughters, and their husbands inspired names for Victoria, Dominguez, Engracia, Cota, Dolores, Susana, Manuel, Carson, Watson, Martina, and Del Amo. Sepulveda memorializes Jose Dolores Sepulveda of the Sepulveda Stage Line and one-time owner of much of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

El Prado was named for the main street of Madrid, Spain. An area where early Mexican-American workers lived was dubbed Pueblo, meaning "people," which is now along Del Amo Blvd., between Arlington and Crenshaw.

Later on, many Torrance parks got fanciful Spanish names, such as Lago Seco or La Romeria, and the Hollywood Riviera section of town had Spanish street names. Calle Mayor means "main street" and Paseo de las Tortugas means "street of the turtles." The city would eventually begin naming more streets after early settlers and city officials.

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