Kadota Street

The Kadota is a variety of fig characterized by its light yellow-green skin. All sources agree that the Kadota was first cultivated in 1905 by Sawtelle founder Rev. Stephen H. Taft (1825-1918). The story goes that Taft went to Whittier in 1898, bought ten cuttings of a fig tree called a Dottato, then planted them at his Sawtelle nursery. One cutting grew into a new genetic variant with an especially sweet fig that Taft dubbed the Kadota. What’s behind the name? A 1919 article surmised that it was just a corruption of “Dottato”, sometimes spelled “Dotato”: Taft took the “dota” and put a “Ka” in front of it, for reasons known only to him. Kadota is also a Japanese surname, and there’s a long tradition of Japanese nurserymen in Sawtelle, so it’s not impossible that Taft named the fruit after an employee. At any rate, the Sylmar Packing Corporation, formerly the L.A. Olive Growers Association, planted 30 acres of Kadota figs here in 1922. The following year, Hollywood’s Taft family – no relation to Stephen Taft – named this street on their Sylmar Acres tract, vowing to plant even more Kadotas.