Helen Street

This street was named for Helen Mordoff Newlin (1882-1986) when she was just five years old. In fact it was officially called Little Helen Street until 1934, when embarrassed property owners finally got the City to drop the “Little”. Born in Lawrence, KS, Helen came to this area in 1886 with her family: her father Elwood Newlin was one of Whittier’s founders. The story goes that Henry W. Sessions, an early Whittier shopkeeper who helped lay out the town, got a kick out of little Helen and her pony, so he named this road in her honor. The Newlins moved to Los Angeles in 1896 after Elwood was elected county clerk; there Helen graduated from Marlborough School, then went to New York and graduated from Wells College. In 1915, she married Dr. Hill Hastings (1874-1948), a throat specialist. He had one small son, Robert, whose mother had died in childbirth. The couple would have three additional children together. Helen Newlin Hastings died in L.A. at the ripe old age of 103.