Arleta Avenue

Arleta Avenue was named (as Arleta Street) in 1917, nearly forty years before a new post office established Arleta as a neighborhood. So who coined the name – and what does it mean? It’s an unsolved mystery, alas, but there’s one credible angle – Thomas Benton Potter (1867-1916) was a real estate developer who named at least four places after his Oakland-born daughter Natalia Arleta Potter (later Dobbins, 1893-1973): Arleta Avenue in San Francisco, Arleta Boulevard in Kansas City, the Arleta Park tract in Half Moon Bay, and the Portland neighborhood of Arleta (now Mt. Scott-Arleta). Could he have named our Arleta too? It’s compelling, but Potter died a year before the City of Los Angeles changed Pacoima’s 18th Street to Arleta Street, and there’s no evidence that he ever developed anything in this region, although he and his family did live in DTLA in 1900-1901. It’s certainly possible that an L.A. civil engineer knew of one of Potter’s aforementioned developments and borrowed the Arleta name. I found no Angeleno women from the time who might have served as inspiration.