Hartsook Street

Fred Hartsook (1876-1930) was a portrait photographer who owned some 20 photo studios up and down the West Coast. Born in Indiana, Hartsook had moved to California by 1904 and soon became renowned for his celebrity portraits. He married his second wife, model Bessie Hesby, in 1919. Apart from his photography business, Hartsook was a cattle rancher, at one time owning 3,000 acres in Kern County and at least 41 acres in the SFV. (The Hartsook tract, which introduced Hartsook and Hesby streets, was established in NoHo in 1922.) He and Bessie also operated the exclusive Hartsook Inn in Humboldt County, which they’d discovered on their honeymoon. Things went south when the 1924 foot-and-mouth outbreak ruined Hartsook’s Holstein breeding business. The photo studios also went bankrupt, and even the inn burned down. (It was rebuilt.) When Fred died of a heart attack at 53, his income was meager and his debts large. Somehow Bessie got by – and kept going for 47 more years.