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 moved to Prescott, Arizona Territory in 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. (His wife and kids preferred San Francisco; the Shermans spent years apart and officially divorced in 1908.) With brother-in-law Eli P. Clark, Sherman built a series of railroads that connected DTLA to its then-distant suburbs: Hollywood, Pasadena, Santa Monica, etc. In 1896, they established a town – called “Sherman”, naturally – with rail yards and housing for their workers. This town would later become 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; no streets are named for him) to buy up 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 Hollywood sign. The original Sherman Way, the Valley’s first thoroughfare, was renamed Van Nuys Blvd. in 1926. That same year, 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.