Sherman Way

Moses Hazeltine Sherman (1853-1932) was one of the biggest names in the development of Los Angeles. Having grown up in a farming family along the Vermont/New York border, Sherman relocated to Arizona around 1875. Initially a teacher, a flair for power brokering led him to politics, railroads, and banking, and Sherman, now an honorary Arizona “General”, moved to L.A. in 1890 to expand his fortune. With brother-in-law Eli Clark, he built a series of railroads that connected DTLA to its then-distant suburbs (Hollywood, Pasadena, Santa Monica, etc.). In 1896, he established a town – called Sherman, naturally – with rail yards and housing for his workers. This town would later be known as West Hollywood. After the turn of the century, Sherman sold off his railroad interests and focused on real estate. He partnered with Harrison Gray Otis, Harry Chandler, H.J. Whitley, and title insurance kingpin Otto F. Brant (1858-1922; he wanted nothing named after him) to buy half the San Fernando Valley from Isaac Van Nuys in 1909. Sherman was also involved in the development of Playa del Rey and even had a stake in Hollywoodland, which gave us the famous Hollywood sign. The original Sherman Way, the Valley’s first boulevard, was renamed Van Nuys Blvd. in 1926. At that point, East Sherman Way – an entirely separate street – was rechristened Chandler Blvd., while West Sherman Way – another separate street – became the Sherman Way you know and love today. Got all that? Sherman Oaks came along the following year.