Long Beach Boulevard

This street name might seem like a no-brainer, but Long Beach Boulevard wasn’t officially called that – at least not within Long Beach city limits – until May 1st, 1959. Before then, it was known as American Avenue, the name given to it by W.E. Willmore (c. 1843-1901), who in 1881 leased 4,000 acres of Rancho Cerritos from Jotham Bixby and dubbed his new subdivision the “American Colony”. The following year, he laid out a townsite on his colony and humbly christened it “Willmore City”. In 1884, Willmore went broke, gave up his lease, and his town was rebranded “Long Beach”. Belle McKee Lowe (1846-1918), whose husband would become LB’s first postmaster, is credited with coining the name. American Avenue itself was named in 1882 as a reference to the American Colony. Emulating the geography of the United States, Pacific Ave. was laid out west of American Ave., with Atlantic Ave. to the east. Outside of LB, the road connecting to American Ave. was named Long Beach Boulevard in 1928. Decades of squabbling followed, with logicians arguing that the entire thoroughfare should be called Long Beach Blvd. and patriots urging to keep it American Ave. The logicians won: City Council approved the name change on July 24th, 1958.