Grand Avenue

Back in 1849, today’s Grand Avenue was drawn on a map and dubbed “Charity Street”. It existed only on paper until being opened in 1869 – just one block of it, between 5th and 6th. Seventeen years later, once DTLA had filled in and people actually lived and worked on the street, property owners petitioned City Council for a name change because they were annoyed by the jokes about “living on charity”. It sounds like an urban legend, but the Los Angeles Daily Times – soon to drop the “Daily” from its masthead – confirmed it on May 11th, 1886: “Council has taken pity on the people who were ‘sick of living on charity.’ It was voted yesterday to change the name of Charity Street to Grand Avenue.” (Residents initially suggested Pacific Avenue, but there was already a Pacific Street elsewhere.) The change was finalized the following year. As for the rumor that Flower Street was originally called Faith Street, giving us a precious “Faith, Hope, and Charity” trifecta, it’s unfounded.