Helen Avenue

In 1907, landowner Homer Hansen honored his two nieces with streets here: Marian Avenue for Marian Margaret Haish (later Smith, 1899-1990), only child of Hansen’s sister Jennie, and Helen Avenue for Helen Hansen Shinn (later Guillou, 1892-1964), only child of Hansen’s sister Dora. Poor Marian lost her namesake street to Wheatland Ave. in 1918 but Helen Ave. lives on. Helen Shinn was born at the Hansen compound in Logan, OH although her parents were addressed at Buffalo, NY at the time: Helen’s father William was working there as a minister. He was also an abuser, so Dora left him in 1894. (His church “retired” him days later.) The divorce was finalized in 1903 and Dora and Helen soon decamped for Sunland; by 1911, however, they were running a boarding school in San Mateo. In 1916, Helen married electrical engineer Alfred Victor Guillou (1889-1940). The couple would have four sons and were living in Sherman Oaks when Alfred passed away. Helen Guillou spent her final decade growing prize geraniums in Montecito.