Monogram Avenue

Although its original layout has since vanished under the Van Nuys Airport, this 1951 street was named for and by Monogram Home Builders, run by Albert A. Strasner (1906-1990) and Ben W. Wishnow (1892-1966); they apparently acquired the business from one Leonard Grayson the year before. (A 1949 article quotes Grayson as saying, “the homes we’ve built are as individualized as a personal monogram.”) Strasner and Wishnow were both Jewish men who escaped the Soviet Union and raised families in the Midwest: the Strasners in Detroit, the Wishnows in Chicago. Wishnow, who mostly made the news when he was robbed (on at least four occasions!), was running a gas station on Beverly Blvd. by 1941; Strasner moved here by 1948. It’s not known how they met, but they had gone their separate ways by 1958, the year Strasner relocated to Tucson.