Burnett Street

Named, rather indirectly, for railroad builder Thomas Burr Burnett (1845-1901). Originally from Wisconsin, Burnett started laying down tracks in St. Joseph, MO on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. He then spent several years in St. Louis, where in 1881 his wife Sophia died of “stomach disease” at the tender age of 31. Taking their three daughters and son to Peoria, IL, the widowed Burnett served as general superintendent of the Peoria & Pekin Union Railway. His expertise brought him to L.A. in 1890, where he was appointed general manager of the new Los Angeles Terminal Railway; when its line extended into Long Beach, Burnett’s 20-year-old daughter Lucia drove in the golden spike on Nov. 7th, 1891. The railroad renamed its Signal Hill station “Burnett” in 1897 to honor its manager emeritus, who had stepped down from his post after suffering a massive stroke a year earlier. A short-lived farming community called Burnett developed around the station and Burnett Street was named in 1903.