Arcadia Avenue

There’s some debate as to who or what the city of Arcadia was named for. Elias “Lucky” Baldwin, whose Santa Anita ranch was the basis for the townsite, christened Arcadia in 1887 with his manager/nephew Hiram A. Unruh. The city was incorporated in 1903. Like other Arcadias in the U.S., it may have simply been named for the pastoral land of Greek myth. (Greece’s own Arcadia was once a sister city.) But Baldwin and Unruh would certainly have been aware of Arcadia Bandini de Baker (1827-1912), one of L.A.’s richest women. Whether or not they knew her personally, they could have been inspired by her mellifluous name, which already adorned other Southland streets as well as a landmark Santa Monica hotel.