Welcome to L.A. Street Names, the origin stories of street names across Los Angeles County, from the shortest cul-de-sacs to the longest boulevards. Mysteries solved, myths debunked, scandals exposed, history revealed. This is an ongoing project with more than 1,200 streets – and growing. See FAQ for more information.
Some say Reseda was named for a plant. I think it was more likely named for the color inspired by the plant. Reseda odorata is the Latin name for a fragrant flower called mignonette (imagine if this street went by “Mignonette”!), but “Reseda” as a Valley name surely had more to do with fashion than with horticulture. At the turn of the 20th century, reseda was a popular shade of green, similar to olive. When Reseda Boulevard (or Avenue, as it was known then) was christened in 1911, its verdant name would have reflected the Valley’s pre-industrial landscape. At that time, the neighborhood itself was not called Reseda but “Marian”, after L.A. Times secretary Marian Otis Chandler (1866-1952). It was changed to Reseda in 1922 when residents wanted a post office and Marian – or something like it – was already taken.