Passons Boulevard

This much is clear: Oliver Perry “O.P.” Passons (1824-1895) was a pioneer walnut grower in this area. Much of his early life story, however, sounds like a tall tale – although it could be true. Born in Tennessee, Passons moved to Texas in 1847, then caught gold fever in 1849 and headed to California. En route, a band of Apaches allegedly robbed him of nearly everything, so he retreated to El Paso for a spell, then walked all the way from Yuma, AZ to Los Angeles in 1850. He then married Nancy Graham (née Orrick, 1819-1903), a widow, and had two children with her. Around 1855, Passons picked up 100 acres for his walnut grove here; whether he expanded it is unknown, but it yielded prosperous crops for years. The family homestead was located at the present-day corner of Rivera Road and Passons Boulevard, which was named in 1894. O.P. Passons, who also grew broom corn and even took over a broom factory in 1877, was central in the formation of the town of Rivera in 1888. When he died, he was eulogized as its “first citizen”.