Ximeno Avenue

It’s the only major thoroughfare in L.A. County that starts with X. Given its perplexing pronunciation, you can see why there aren’t more. For the record, while a Spanish speaker would pronounce Ximeno “hee-MAY-no”, it’s a Long Beach tradition to say “ex-IMM-en-o”. The origin of this name, given to the street by 1902, is even murkier. One theory is that it’s for Jimena Díaz de Vivar (c. 1046 – c. 1116), wife of the Spanish hero El Cid (Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar). She lived in an era when “Jimena” would have been spelled “Ximena” – but if she’s this street’s namesake, then why not Ximena Avenue? A more plausible theory is that it honors Manuel Jimeno Casarin (1815-1853), occasional acting governor of Alta California during Mexican rule. Old records show that he sometimes went by “Ximeno”, so maybe whoever named this street had seen the exotic old spelling and liked it.