Rich history in Tustin street names

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News

Columbus Tustin showed a lack of originality in 1870 when he named the streets dividing Tustin City’s 100 acres into 300-square-foot blocks. He used numbers for east and west streets with First on the north side of town and Sixth on the south. North and south streets received alphabetical names, A through H.

Fourth Street became Main Street as businesses congregated there, and Fifth Street never got off the plat map. D Street doubled as State Highway 101 after 1914, but was renamed El Camino Real in 1968. 

More original, but unexplained names, such as Pasadena, Myrtle, Pacific, California, Yorba and Mt. View, were attached to streets added later on the west side. Some streets surrounding Tustin were named for their destinations, Irvine Boulevard, Newport Avenue, Tustin Avenue, and Red Hill Avenue.

David Hewes, who relocated to Tustin from San Francisco in 1881, building a Victorian mansion at the corner of Main and B, inspired Hewes Avenue, which lead to Anapauma ranch, agricultural property he acquired between Tustin and El Modena. Vanderlip Avenue memorialized Nelson Vanderlip, a banker and Tustin resident who served as treasurer of the Santa Ana, Orange and Tustin Street Railway in early 1886.

John Holt, a Swedish immigrant, who owned property on First Street as well as near the present Civic Center, inspired Holt Avenue. Browning Avenue was named after Felton P. “Frank” Browning, owner of Red Hill and its mercury mine.

When the 1950s brought mass development to Tustin and the surrounding area, developers and landowners came up with both commonplace and unusual names for the streets in the new subdivisions. However, some of the names selected honored early residents and ranchers.

Fourth Street was reincarnated when it was cut through the orange groves as a continuation of Santa Ana’s Fourth Street in the 1950s. Later it was extended into Irvine Boulevard and renamed. Utt Drive in South Tustin recalled Lysander Utt who came to Tustin in 1874 as well as his son, Tustin entrepreneur C. E. Utt, and grandson James, both a state assemblyman and a congressman representing Tustin. Mitchell Avenue identifies Ralph Mitchell, a South Tustin rancher.

Preble Drive honors the Preble family, including brothers Samuel and James as well as cousin George. Nisson Road is named for Mathias Nisson, a Denmark native, who established himself in Tustin in 1876. His grandsons are still Tustin residents. Warner Avenue, Williams Street and Kenyon Drive were named for Frank Warner, Albert C. Williams and Chester Kenyon, who farmed in the area.

Ebel Road remembers the Ebel family which traces its Tustin roots back to the early 1900s. Marshall Lane was created when Joseph Marshall subdivided his orange acreage. Enderle Center Drive leading to Enderle Center harks back to Herman Enderle who came to Orange County in 1892.

More recently, streets in Tustin Ranch have been named for civic leaders and war heroes.


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