Colden Avenue

This stretch of 96th Street was renamed in 1929 for outgoing city councilman Charles J. Colden (1870-1938). Born near Peoria, IL, Colden grew up in northwest Missouri, where he would work as a teacher, newspaper publisher, insurance agent, and finally politician: he was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1900. After two terms and a failed bid for state senate, Colden got into real estate in Kansas City. Success in this field brought him to San Pedro in late 1912, freshly single after dumping Jessie, his wife of 21 years. (He remained close to their three kids, even hiring daughter Abbey as his personal secretary.) Colden married Clara Norman (1878-1969) in 1914 and had one more son. He then presided over the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce and the L.A. Harbor Commission before enjoying two terms on L.A. City Council. Despite his 1929 “retirement”, Colden wasn’t done with politics: he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1932 (D-CA) and served there until succumbing to cancer. During his time in Congress, he and Clara both wrote columns about Capitol life for the Wilmington, CA Daily Press; Clara unsuccessfully ran for his House seat after his death.