Los Feliz Boulevard

Let’s get one thing straight: Los Feliz does not mean “the happy”. Although feliz does mean “happy” in Spanish, this street and neighborhood were named for a family – happy or not, who can say? José Vicente Feliz (c. 1741-1822) was a Mexican soldier who is said to have led L.A.’s first non-native settlers – the 44 pobladores – west from Mission San Gabriel in 1781. For his efforts, the Spanish government awarded him a land grant here, which he named El Rancho de Nuestra Señora de Refugio de los Feliz, later shortened to Rancho los Feliz. In short, los Feliz means “the Feliz family”. Griffith J. Griffith eventually bought the rancho, and Los Feliz Avenue was born in 1888. It was widened into a proper boulevard in 1912. Now, about that pronunciation: longtime locals say “loss FEE-liz”, younger transplants say “lohs fuh-LEASE”, and some split the difference and say “lohs FEE-liz”. Who’s right? Depends on what you mean by “right”.