Bonner Avenue

John M. Bonner (1829-1900) was a rich New Orleans attorney who first visited Los Angeles in 1888 to escape the Big Easy’s sweltering summer. He liked our city so much that he returned annually until the end of his life, often with his favorite niece Lelia (he was a lifelong bachelor) and often buying up land while in town. That included some 110 acres in Lankershim – the future NoHo – which Bonner purchased in 1889 and 1890. Although details are fuzzy, it’s believed that Bonner grew peaches and apricots, which were then canned in a barn owned by William H. Andrews. Andrews eventually built a proper cannery, possibly financed by Bonner. In 1910, Andrews’s nephew Guy Weddington, along with Charles and Dan Bakman and others, incorporated the Bonner Fruit Company and took over the cannery. (Some claim either Weddington or Andrews actually founded the company in 1907.) The Bonner cannery processed thousands of tons of fruit until shutting down at the end of 1924 due to dwindling local crops. It was located at the present-day intersection of Chandler Blvd. and Fair Ave. In fact that block of Fair was called Bonner Street from 1910 until 1924; its name was changed on the same date that the former Florence Ave. was renamed Bonner Ave. That must have made sense to someone.