Coke Avenue

In a 1952 interview, Marshall Boyar, son of a Lakewood developer, claimed that Coke Avenue honored “that good old American drink”: Coca-Cola. But his Coke was a joke. This street was actually named on a 1922 tract owned by four sisters who shared the maiden name of, you guessed it, Coke. James (1840-1921) and Alice (1850-1917) Coke were Midwestern farmers who married in San Luis Obispo in 1869, then relocated to Downey, where they raised ten children. The daughters’ tract may have been on inherited land: the unmarried Ethel Coke (1881-1930) had lived with James at the end of his life and served as attorney-in-fact for her sisters Mabel Cathcart, Ida Wood, and Nellie Greenleaf. (I don’t know why the six Coke brothers were not involved in this tract.) After working as a teacher, a florist, and a shopkeeper, Ethel finally tied the knot in 1925 – she married Frank Clink, the widower of her own aunt! – but divorced him within two years. She wound up in Oregon with a couple of her brothers while the rest of the Coke clan remained in CA.