It’s not what you think! Though the large reservoir that dominates this hip Eastside enclave often seems to shimmer like dull tin, that has nothing to do with its name. According to Michael Locke and Vincent Brook, authors of Silver Lake Chronicles, the reservoir was named after German-native Herman Silver, whose fascinating life took him all over the West, working with the IRS, as a lawyer, and the manager of the Denver Tribune.
In Los Angeles he worked for the railroads and was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 1896. Considered an honest, straightforward man, he was elected president of the city’s highly fraught Board of Water Commissioners in 1902. In 1907, William Mulholland recommended that the city’s newest reservoir should be named after the levelheaded public servant. Silver died in 1913, but his name lives on.
The origin of this seaside city’s name stretches to 1769. That year, Father Joan (or Juan) Crespi, a Franciscan monk traveling with the Spanish Portola expedition along the California Coast, wrote in his diary of exploring the Los Angeles Basin. The explorers came upon the Kuruvungna Springs (which ran through what is now West LA into the Santa Monica Canyon before heading out into the Pacific Ocean). According to Crespi, the waters were reminiscent of “the tears of Santa Monica,” a 3rd century Algerian saint who was the mother of Saint Augustine. Allegedly, the name stuck and was officially recorded in 1839 when Juan Alvarado gifted the Reyes and Marquez family with the sprawling Rancho Boca de Santa Monica, which includes present day Santa Monica.
Historic Filipinotown (HiFi)
Part of the larger neighborhood of Westlake in Central Los Angeles, HiFi was officially recognized by the city in 2002. But immigrants from the Philippines have called this area home since the 1950s and have been fighting for official designation since the 1970s.
According to the Los Angeles Times, residents moved here after the original Filipinotown in downtown, called “Little Manila,” was displaced by city initiatives. Filipino leaders opened businesses in their new neighborhood and started to forge a community identity. In 2002, current Mayor and then L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti was able to push through a bill officially designating HiFi as a neighborhood.
Another neighborhood name, another developer. This beloved community was for many years owned by the legendary Baldwin family as part of their sprawling holdings. In 1927, Clara Baldwin Stocker sold approximately 230 acres of land to Walter H. Leimert, already a seasoned real estate developer. Never one to shy away from adulatory publicity, Leimert named his new subdivision after himself. So confident was he in his investment, Leimert took out the following ad in the Los Angeles Times:
I have, now, for the first time, permitted my name to be applied to a subdivision. I do so because I am 100% convinced that the 230 acres I have purchased […] present a magnificent opportunity for the creation of a very beautiful and highly successful residential and business development.
One of the first master-planned communities in Los Angeles, Leimert Park would be the only one of Walter’s numerous creations, including Cheviot Knolls, Beverlywood, and Rancho Malibu.