Willowbrook Avenue

Willowbrook was born in June 1904 when the Willowbrook Company, a syndicate of real estate men, was incorporated. One month later, they finalized their $50,000 purchase of 210 acres here from Mary Hollister Banning (1847-1919), the wealthy widow of Wilmington founder Phineas Banning. (She was also a niece of W.W. Hollister, namesake of the NorCal city.) The Willowbrook tract map surveyed that very month revealed Willowbrook Avenue at its heart. (There was also a Banning Avenue in honor of Mrs. Banning; it’s now 126th Street.) It’s been claimed that the Willowbrook name stems from an old 1840s boundary marker that was located at a willow tree next to a brook. Cute, but I found no evidence to back it up. While there were surely willows here back then, and maybe even a brook or two, I think those real estate guys just coined “Willowbrook” because it sounded nice.