Ord Street

Named for the man behind the first American map of Los Angeles: U.S. Army engineer Edward Otho Cresap Ord (1818-1883). The Maryland native lived an eventful life, from rooming with a young William Tecumseh Sherman at West Point to forcing Robert E. Lee to surrender at the end of the Civil War. While still a lieutenant – he would ultimately be ranked major general – Ord came to L.A. for two months in the summer of 1849 at the behest of city leaders. He and civil engineer William Rich Hutton (1826-1901) surveyed and mapped the soon-to-be-American city. Most of the streets on their map (e.g., Flower, Hope, College) didn’t yet exist in real life: their work was really more of a plan for the city’s expansion – indeed, “PLAN” was written in big letters on the paper – as well as a promotional tool for potential property owners and developers. As for Ord Street, no, the lieutenant wasn’t vain enough to name it after himself. His map had it as Calle Alta: High Street. In 1886, it was renamed Walters Street, after resident George Walters. From 1890 onward, it’s been Ord. Fort Ord near Monterey also honors our mapmaker.