Alamitos Avenue

Alamitos means “little cottonwood trees” in Spanish, and it’s presumed that said trees were on Rancho Los Alamitos, a 26,000+ acre land grant established in 1834. It was one of the five “mini ranchos” that split off from the enormous Rancho Los Nietos, deeded to Manuel Nieto in 1784 while Alta California was still a Spanish colony. It’s said that his son Juan José Nieto sold Los Alamitos to José Figueroa – governor during Mexican rule – for a song. Massachusetts-born trader Abel Stearns then acquired it c. 1842 and used it as a country home and cattle ranch until a series of natural and economic disasters forced him to unload it in the 1860s. It was then owned by millionaire Michael Reese, who leased it out to cousins John and Jotham Bixby in late 1877. When Reese died the following year, the Bixbys bought the rancho. In 1886, with financial backing from cousin Thomas Flint and bankers Isaias Hellman and Leander Goodwin, they subdivided it as Alamitos Beach. That’s when Alamitos Avenue was named.