Hamel Drive/Road

(Mis)named for Henry Hammel (c. 1833-1890), a German immigrant who was in L.A. by 1856, when he took over downtown’s Bella Union Hotel. He later partnered with fellow Teuton Andrew H. Denker (1840-1892), his brother-in-law, on the United States Hotel. (Their uncle-by-marriage Louis Mesmer sublet it to them.) Hammel also served on the Los Angeles City Council – so why does he have a street in Beverly Hills? Because in 1883, he and Denker purchased Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas: the future BH. Here they grew numerous vegetables (not just lima beans, as claimed) while dreaming of transforming the vast rancho into a town called “Morocco”. Alas, both died before they could realize that dream, and in January 1906 their heirs sold the land to a syndicate led by Burton Green, who would rechristen it Beverly Hills by September. Hamel Road/Drive was named in 1922 as a nod to Hammel’s place in local history – but where did that second “m” go? I guess someone either forgot how to spell his name or purposely misspelled it to avoid postal conflicts with Hammel Street, itself misnamed.