Towne Avenue

Named in 1887 for Alban Nelson Towne (1829-1895), then general manager of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Towne was a Massachusetts native who made his home in San Francisco, but the men who were subdividing Joseph W. Wolfskill‘s old DTLA orchard donated 13 acres at 4th and Alameda to the Southern Pacific for a new station and thought to honor its top brass with street names. (Note that today’s Stanford Avenue, named for SPRR president Leland Stanford, was initially called Ruth Avenue – presumably for Wolfskill’s daughter – while the original Stanford Avenue was later renamed Crocker Street, a nod to another SPRR exec.) The Southern Pacific was ready to upgrade from its inelegant River Station, located at present-day Los Angeles State Historic Park, and happily accepted. Its Arcade Passenger Depot opened at 4th and Alameda in 1888, only to be replaced in 1914 by Central Station right next door. Both buildings are now long gone.