Gay Street

Although they’re ten miles apart, Cypress Park’s Gay Street and Inglewood’s Gay Street were both named in October 1920 by the same trio of landowners: Leslie Freeman Gay (1845-1930), his wife Cora (née Seamans, 1851-1939), and his unwed sister Clementine a.k.a. “Clemmie” (1859-1940). Leslie and Clemmie were born and raised in Jackson Township, IL, a farming community 50 miles outside of Chicago. Their parents Freeman and Augusta Gay hailed from Maine and were first cousins, which wasn’t too scandalous in those days. Leslie and another sister (Elsie) first came to Los Angeles in 1874, looking for work; Leslie eventually found success as a produce dealer. He briefly returned to Illinois in 1881 to marry Cora and the rest of the Gays joined them in L.A. the following year. Most settled on Idell Street, a block away from Cypress Park’s Gay Street.