Hammel Street

Misnamed for James and Martha Hammell on land they owned in East L.A. (Curiously, the original 1905 tract map spelled the couple’s surname correctly, even as it established the “Hammel Street” misspelling.) James Hammell (1828-1912) was an Ohioan who in 1850 walked – walked! – to California alongside a wagon train, seduced by the Gold Rush at Sutter’s Mill. He mined enough gold to go back east and marry Indiana native Martha May (1838-1909); their honeymoon was spent on a ship back to San Francisco. James eventually gave up mining for real estate and the couple moved to Santa Barbara in 1868. Of the two Hammell kids born there, Hattie died in infancy while Delbert lived until 1947. In 1876, James opened a stagecoach hotel on his Ventura County farmland. Although he sold the property after two years, the hotel still stands as the Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park. The Hammells settled in L.A. in 1882 and James operated a successful realty business. He retired in 1893 and 21-year-old newlywed Delbert took over the firm.