Esteban Torres Drive

Esteban Edward Torres (1930-2022) served in the House of Representatives (D-CA) from 1983 until 1999. South El Monte lies within his old congressional district, but it’s a mystery as to why this residential street, on the Tiburon Park Estates tract, was named for him. Perhaps he had pulled a favor for the tract’s developers. At any rate, Torres was born in Miami, AZ and moved to East L.A. with his mother and brother in 1936; his father had been deported to Mexico and was never heard from again. In the 1950s, Torres joined the Army, married Arcy Sanchez (1934-), and got a job as a welder at the Chrysler assembly plant in Commerce. He soon became a United Auto Workers union leader and rose to a top post by the late 1960s. He subsequently established an East L.A. development agency (TELACU), was ambassador to UNESCO, and served as a White House aide during the Carter administration. After retiring from Congress, Torres – a lifelong painter and sculptor – founded LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in DTLA.