Wellesley Avenue

Ten college-themed streets in east Santa Monica and Sawtelle were named on 1903’s Artesia tract, owned by the all-powerful Santa Monica Land and Water Company. No university was planned for this neighborhood – UCLA was still two decades away – so developers probably just thought that prestigious schools made for attractive street names. The original streets, from west to east, were Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, Franklin, Cambridge, Vassar, Wellesley, and Amherst. Cambridge eventually got coopted by Centinela and little Vassar, just one block long, became part of Carmelina. If you’re wondering about the inspiration for Franklin Street, I wonder too. Is it tiny Franklin College in Franklin, IN? The then-new Franklin University in Columbus, OH? Or Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA? It’s a mystery why the tract’s owners chose Franklin over something more recognizable like Dartmouth or Cornell. Perhaps someone went to one of those “Franklin” schools or perhaps it’s an anomalous nod to Benjamin Franklin.