Soto Street

Named for a family whose land wound up in the hands of another family… one way or another. Casilda Soto (1799-1854), born in Los Angeles, was married to a soldier named Cecilio Lobo (or possibly Villalobos; records from this era are jumbled). She was widowed by 1844, when Manuel Micheltorena, then-governor of Alta California, deeded her the 2,363 acre Rancho La Merced (present-day Montebello and Monterey Park). Seven years later, she had to hand the rancho over to William Workman when she couldn’t repay his loan to her. Amongst other Soto relatives in the area, we know that Casilda’s niece Estéfana Soto de Rubio (c. 1822 – 1868) lived just east of the L.A. River with her husband Tomás. In 1858, the couple sold much of their land to Andrew Boyle, who lived across the road. Finally, in 1874, their heirs sold whatever was left to future L.A. mayor William H. Workman – nephew of William Workman, son-in-law of Andrew Boyle, and cofounder of Boyle Heights. Soto Street, named by 1868, is thus a symbol of shifting family fortunes and the balance of power in 19th century Los Angeles.