Cagney Street

Named for screen actor James Cagney (1899-1986), who once owned a racehorse ranch here. The size of the ranch fluctuated through the years – either literally or via reporters’ mistakes. According to a 1939 newspaper, it was 1,000 acres when it was set up that year by Pasadena oilman Walter T. Wells, who dubbed it “Oro Primero Rancho”. When he sold it in 1945 to Hollywood costume designer Gilbert Adrian and actress Janet Gaynor, it was listed as 700 acres. The couple rechristened it “Bull Canyon Meadows” and sold it to Cagney eight years later. At this point the ranch was reportedly 450 acres, yet when Cagney himself sold it to subdividers in 1964 (when Cagney Street was named), it was said to be 500 acres! In any event, James Francis Cagney Jr. was born in NYC and was a Broadway and vaudeville veteran by the time he came to Hollywood in 1930. The following year, the gangster drama Public Enemy made him a superstar. Cagney acted in over sixty movies and won an Oscar for the 1942 musical Yankee Doodle Dandy. He retired in 1961 but returned to the screen two decades later for Ragtime.