Bellflower was adopted in 1909 after apple grower William Gregory suggested the name to link the town to his orchard of Bellefleure apples, meaning "beautiful flower" in French.
Bell Gardens (1961)
When the area was a vast orange grove in 1924, developer John Joseph Woodworth built himself a mansion, intending to build more. He envisioned a community to rival Beverly Hills but had to scrap his ambitious efforts because of the Depression. The town soon became known as Billy Goat Acres, a derisive reference to the many Dust Bowl refugees who sought a better life there but ended up living in cardboard piano boxes and tents on vacant lots. Later, vegetable gardens that had been developed by Japanese entrepreneurs were subdivided and named after nearby Bell.
Beverly Hills (1914)
A developer laid out a 36-block village in the area in 1869, intending to call it Santa Maria. During the 1880s, promoters planned a town called Morocco, which never materialized. Then, in 1906, oil tycoon and city founder Burton Green, who was from Wisconsin, named the community after Beverly, Mass., a quaint Atlantic Coast town 25 miles north of Boston. By 1911, only six houses — on estate-size lots — had been built on the 4,539 acres of lima bean fields. The homes sold for $300 to $1,000.
His name may be better known for the Bradbury Building downtown, a national landmark. But Lewis Leonard Bradbury, a silver- and gold-mining millionaire turned real estate developer, made his biggest mark here when he and his wife, Simona, bought 2,750 acres of Rancho Azusa de Duarte in 1892. Today, the area is a hillside sea of wealth, tranquillity and horseflesh tucked against the San Gabriel Mountains.
David Burbank, a Los Angeles dentist and real estate tycoon from New Hampshire, knew how to cut a great deal. In 1867, he bought the land that would become much of the city of Burbank for $9,000. He sold it 16 years later for $250,000. Burbank is the only city in the county named for a dentist.
Legend has it that when a 19th century farmer named Antonio Jauregui headed for Los Angeles along El Camino Real, the state's first "highway" — a meandering dirt path linking the missions — he spilled his oxcart full of pumpkins or gourds.
The scattered squash grew wild, and the area became known by the Spanish word "Las Calabazas."
Sources: "1000 California Place Names" by Erwin G. Gudde; The Dictionary of California Land Names by Phil Townsend Hanna; "Los Angeles A to Z" by Leonard Pitt and Dale Pitt; chambers of commerce and city websites; Times archives