Torrance Boulevard

Millionaire capitalist Jared Sidney Torrance (1852-1921), who went by “Sidney”, was a Gowanda, NY native and Yale graduate who came to Pasadena in 1887 with his family. He married his first wife Annie in 1889 and the couple soon moved back to Gowanda, where their sons Jared Jr. and John were born. There followed a string of tragedies: Jared Jr. died in infancy; Annie fell victim to peritonitis in 1893 – the Torrances had returned to Pasadena by then – and 8-year-old John was crushed by an elevator at Pasadena’s Hotel Green in 1900. Sidney Torrance then buried himself in his work. In 1911, with the construction of the Panama Canal underway, he envisioned a new industrial city near the Port of Los Angeles that could manufacture and ship goods to the East Coast – indeed, to the world. With investors including Joseph Sartori and W. Jarvis Barlow, Torrance purchased 2,790 acres of Rancho San Pedro from the Domínguez family. (It was later reported to be 3,500 acres.) He called his development “Dominguez” in early March 1912, but the Domínguezes nixed that idea, so it was rechristened “Torrance” by the end of that month. Two years later, Sidney Torrance married Helena Childs (1867-1940), a widowed mother of two. He died at his South Pasadena mansion; the City of Torrance was incorporated weeks later. Torrance Boulevard was laid out in 1916 to connect with Redondo Beach.