Hughes Avenue

Named for Thomas “Tom” Hughes (1859-1923), millionaire and kingmaker. Hughes owned a company that supplied hardwood for construction, but he made his real fortune drilling for oil. Although he proudly never took a salaried job in politics, that didn’t stop him from managing successful election campaigns for California governor William Stephens and Los Angeles mayor Frederic Woodman. (Woodman rewarded Hughes with a position – unpaid, of course – as harbor commissioner.) Hughes, whose 22 acre “Vista del Mar” estate was in the heart of Palms, championed L.A.’s 1915 annexation of the town; locals raised a stink when Palms’s former Valley Street was renamed for Hughes. Another foe was his second wife Gertrude Ozmun, who in 1919 claimed that Hughes reneged on a $500,000 prenup. They reconciled a year before his death. Postscript: Vista del Mar is now a school and center for special needs kids.