Griffin Avenue

Dr. John Strother Griffin (1816-1898) was called “the Father of East Los Angeles”. He was also one of L.A. County’s first trained physicians. The Virginia native was orphaned as a child, raised by an uncle in Louisville, and earned his M.D. at UPenn in Philadelphia. As a surgeon with the U.S. Army, Dr. Griffin came to California in 1846 with General Stephen Kearny to run a field hospital during the Mexican–American War. He left for a spell, then returned to Los Angeles in 1854 to set up his practice, purchasing 2,000 acres in present-day Lincoln Heights along the way. (The county would award him additional land as payment for his medical services.) Dr. Griffin, his nephew Hancock M. Johnston, and ex-governor John G. Downey later subdivided this property, developing the first residences east of the river. Griffin Avenue was named by 1875. Dr. Griffin also owned, with “Don Benito” Wilson, another juicy piece of land: Rancho San Pascual, the future Pasadena.