Maywood Avenue

There’s an old story that Maywood was named after a “Miss May Wood” who worked for the city’s developers. That’s surely hogwash, but here’s some background: Maywood was founded on the former Rancho San Antonio, owned by Arcadia Bandini de Baker (1827-1912), one of the Southland’s biggest property holders. The Laguna Land and Water Company bought 2,727 acres from Baker shortly before her death, but their plans to subdivide the land as “Laguna Bell” merely limped along until 1915, when oilman Samuel Camden Graham (1862-1934) was named president of the firm in hopes of reviving sales. World War I put everything on hold, but in 1919, with the war over and the real estate market waking up, Graham rebooted the development as “Maywood”. It was a hit and Graham soon became known as “the Father of Maywood”. Now, while it’s not impossible that he had an employee named May Wood, I found no such person. It’s slightly more plausible that “May” is a nod to Graham’s wife Mamie (1873-1959). The likeliest answer, however, is that he just thought “Maywood” sounded nice. After all, there was already a Chicago suburb and a town in New Jersey by that name. (Graham was from Pennsylvania.) Maywood Avenue itself was christened in 1919; it was previously known as “Vernon and Downey Road”.