Mott Street

Named for Thomas Dillingham Mott (1829-1904) and/or Stephen Hathaway Mott (1828-1909), two enterprising brothers from Saratoga County, NY. Thomas came to California first – for the 1849 Gold Rush, naturally. How he fared there is unknown, but he got rich running ferries across the San Joaquin River and took his money to Los Angeles in 1852. Along with real estate and livery, Thomas Mott made his name in local government, most notably as county clerk. He’s also credited with convincing the Southern Pacific to build a railroad down to L.A. – a massive achievement. He married Ascensión Sepúlveda (1844-1923) around 1863 and they had five surviving children. As for Stephen Mott, he was a merchant who joined his brother in 1864 after some years in Minnesota. Here he served as deputy county clerk (go figure!), cofounded banks, and led water, gas, and lumber companies. He was married once – contentiously – and had no kids. DTLA’s Mott tract, which Stephen set up and then flipped, is today’s Bunker Hill. An 1884 map also showed the Motts owning land at the southern terminus of today’s Mott Street, which was “officially” named in 1876 on the Mathews and Fickett tract further north. If the Motts had owned that land too, it’s not clear – although nearby Saratoga Street does suggest a connection.