George Shatto, a real estate speculator from Grand Rapids, Mich., purchased 21-mile-long Santa Catalina Island in 1887 for $200,000. He soon created the village of Avalon with the island's first hotel and pier. The one-square-mile plot of land was named by Shatto or family members for the legendary island paradise where King Arthur was taken after death.
Despite comedian Jack Benny's joke that the name means "everything from A to Z in the USA," it is most likely derived from the Gabrielino Indian word asuksagna, meaning "skunk place." As early as the 1850s, the town was a jumping-off point for those who caught gold fever and headed up Azusa Canyon in a mini gold rush. Developer Jonathan Sayre Slauson discovered another kind of gold when he subdivided the area during the 1887 land boom.
Baldwin Park (1956)
Originally known as Pleasant View, the area became Vineland in 1880. In 1906, land tycoon Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin bestowed his name on the area, creating Baldwin Park.
The post office and train station were called Obed until 1898, when the founders of the town — James George Bell, a cattle farmer from Kentucky, and his son, Alphonzo Edward Bell — changed the name to match theirs. The origins of "Obed" remain a mystery. The younger Bell went on to discover oil on the family's Santa Fe Springs property and parlayed his profits into developing other properties, including Bel-Air. His son, Alphonzo E. Bell Jr., represented Los Angeles' Westside in Congress for eight terms, from 1961 to 1977.