Workman Avenue

Named for William Workman (1802-1876), an Englishman who immigrated to the U.S. in 1822. Workman had plenty of adventures traveling west with his brother David; common-law wife Nicolasa Urioste (1802-1902), a Native American woman he met in Taos, NM; partner John A. Rowland; and Benjamin Davis Wilson. In 1842, while California was still under Mexican rule, Workman (nicknamed “Don Julián“) and Rowland were granted the massive Rancho La Puente in the San Gabriel Valley, although Workman’s name wasn’t added to the deed until 1845. One of the earliest white settlers in Los Angeles, William Workman found his niche in real estate and banking. Partnering with his son-in-law Francisco Pliny Fisk Temple, he snapped up huge tracts of land all over California – including Alcatraz Island! Alas, it was all too speculative: the Temple & Workman Bank failed in 1876 and a despondent Workman found himself so indebted to Elias “Lucky” Baldwin that he shot himself to death. His nephew William H. Workman went on to leave his own mark on L.A.; see Workman Street in Lincoln Heights for more.