Griffith Avenue

Although it’s more than six miles away from Griffith Park, this street honors the same Griffith(s). The story’s a bit convoluted, but here goes: Griffith Ave. was named in 1894 just south of Adams. The land here had been owned by wealthy French orchardist Andre a.k.a. Andres Briswalter (c. 1831-1885). He was close to Louis Mesmer, a French Alsatian hotelier and patriarch of one of L.A.’s leading families, so his will stipulated that the property go to Mesmer’s daughter “Katarina” – who didn’t exist. It was quickly concluded that Briswalter meant Mary Agnes Christina Mesmer (1864-1948), nicknamed “Tina”. She married real estate developer Griffith J. Griffith (1850-1919) two years later and he took control of the land in late 1893 under the aegis of the Briswalter Land & Water Co., one of his shell companies. He then sold it and got an eponymous street as thanks. This was long before Griffith Park Blvd. was named; see that entry for more on the Griffiths and the violent end of their relationship.