Meyler Street

Named in 1902 in memory of James Joseph Meyler (1866-1901), the Army engineer behind San Pedro’s breakwater, so crucial in creating the Port of Los Angeles. Meyler was born in New Jersey and graduated from West Point in 1887; he was soon sent to L.A. to draw up plans for developing San Pedro’s inner harbor. His meticulous work convinced local and federal authorities to choose this harbor over Santa Monica as L.A.’s official port – a big fight back then. (Collis Huntington and the Southern Pacific Railroad were lobbying hard for Santa Monica.) Lt. Meyler was also one of L.A.’s most eligible bachelors until 1891, when he married society belle Frances “Frankie” Gephard (1865-1950) before hundreds of prominent citizens. The couple left town the next year, with James tasked to Army projects in Thomasville, GA (where their only child Robert was born); Bowling Green, KY; St. Augustine, FL; and Eureka, CA. In 1897, possibly in anticipation of the Spanish–American War, Meyler was assigned to San Diego Harbor to place cannons and underwater mines. A year later, he was promoted to Captain and reassigned to San Pedro to build the breakwater he had envisioned. Meyler died of pneumonia while visiting his mother back in New Jersey. Amos A. Fries eventually took over work on the breakwater, which was completed in 1910.