Duncan Avenue

Some say this street is named after Rev. James Oliver Duncan (1863-1934), pastor at East L.A.’s now-defunct Trinity Presbyterian Church. Maybe. Plans for the church were hatched back in 1922. The former John Street was definitely renamed Duncan Avenue by 1925 – but another report claims that it was renamed in 1923, and therein lies the ambiguity. J.O. Duncan was listed as pastor at “Belvedere Gardens Church” in Easter 1924, so he was part of this community around the time the street was named, but I can’t pin down the exact timeline that might prove or disprove him as namesake. At any rate, Duncan was born in Southern Illinois, became a Methodist pastor in Kentucky, then moved to Oakland in 1907. During his NorCal years, he worked at several churches, married his second wife Margaret, and left the Methodists for the Presbyterians. He was in Los Angeles by November 1922. As for Trinity, it became El Siloé in the late 1950s.