Barbee Street

Thomas Fry Barbee (1846-1909) was an Angeleno for only four years. Born in Danville, KY – his uncle was celebrated Civil War general Speed S. Fry – Barbee was a Princeton-educated attorney when he came to L.A. in 1874 to take part in the city’s first real estate boom. He and Thomas Gates laid out Barbee, Gates, and Thomas streets here in 1876. They dissolved their partnership later that year and Barbee left L.A. in 1878 after the boom went bust, writing that the city “was not as good a place to make money in as formerly.” Returning first to Rock Island, IL, where he had married local gal Henrietta Buford (1847-1895) two years earlier, he then took her to Carroll, IA, where he set up his law practice and even served as mayor. In 1887, Barbee quit lawyering to focus on his mining interests in eastern Oregon, and although he would return to practice in Sioux City in 1894, Oregon is where he ultimately died. P.S. from the Small World Department: The attorney who took over Barbee’s business in Carroll was Gurdon Wattles, who later got rich and built a mansion in Hollywood.