This street’s not named for anyone named Vanowen. It’s a portmanteau of Van Nuys and Owensmouth, as it was the most direct route between those two early San Fernando Valley towns. Originally called 8th Street in 1911, then briefly Owensmouth Street, residents requested it be named “Vanowen” in March 1916. What happened to the community of Owensmouth? Residents renamed that too, in 1931: they decided upon Canoga Park. Theoretically we should now call this thoroughfare “Vancan Street”, but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.