Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stoutenborough Lane, Redondo Beach, CA

Recently, I wrote an article in a newsletter about the Stoutenburgh house in Pasadena. I was suprised to come across this home because not many Stoutenburgs settled in Southern California at the time this house was built.

I was doing some research on the Stoutenborough branch of the Pieter Stoutenburg descendants. To my surprise, I learned of the existence of a Stoutenborough Lane in Redondo Beach, California. However, you won't find it in Google Maps or in a Thomas Guide of Los Angeles County. It is not a figment of my imagination because it is recorded in several of the California registered voter lists I viewed.

So what happened to it? The street did not disappear. In 1946 it was renamed Hill Lane. I found Special Ordinance No. 1075 from February 18, 1946 that changed the name of the street to Hill Lane.

I lived in Los Angeles for many years and worked several years in nearby Inglewood and El Segundo yet I spent virtually no time in Redondo Beach. I really knew very little about about that city. My son earlier this year moved to Redondo Beach. I was really surprised to find that he lives fairly closed to Hill Lane.

Google Maps reveals that Hill Lane is only two blocks long. It lies within the triangle formed by Ripley Avenue, West 190th Street and South Inglewood Avenue. I was intrigued by Stoutenborough Lane and why the city changed the name to Hill Lane. I can only speculate why based on the information I came across.

There was another street whose name was changed in Redondo Beach. In 1949, Kruttschmitt Avenue was renamed Ford Avenue. I then found a comment by someone who speculated that the name was changed because it has hard to pronounce. That may have been the reasoning behind why Stoutenborough Lane was renamed. However, I uncovered an event that may be a more plausible explanation.

On February 7, 1940, a fireworks manufacturing factory exploded. I found reports of the explosion in several newspapers across the country. That factory was on Stoutenborough Lane. It was so big that the explosion was felt miles away. My explanation is that the street was renamed for two reasons. The primary reason was to remove the stigma of a street on which a massive explosive occurred. The secondary reason was the length of the name.

Nonetheless, I still wanted to know how a street in Redondo Beach was once Stoutenborough Lane. I looked at voters registration lists. The earliest list in which I found Stoutenborough Lane was 1924. I viewed the registration lists from that year through 1946, the year in which the street was renamed. In none of the registration lists for the precinct in which Stoutenborough Lane was situate did I find a registered voter with the surname Stoutenborough. Nor was I able to find anyone named Stoutenborough residing in Redondo Beach in the various censuses.

I did find a Henry W. Stoutenborough in Los Angeles in 1910 but there was nothing in that record that would make me believe that Stoutenborough Lane was named for him. So I then focused on that other street that was renamed, Kruttschmitt Avenue.

Julius Kruttschmitt was an executive of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Based on several newspaper articles that I read from the beginning of the twentieth century, he had an influence on the growth of Redondo Beach. The city was incorporated on April 29, 1892.

I learned that Kruttschmitt was transferred to San Francisco in 1885, I had an aha moment. Charles H. Stoutenborough also lived in San Francisco. He was a wealthy stockbroker. At this point, I haven't made the connection between Julius Kruttschmitt and Charles Stoutenborough, but I believe that Stoutenborough Lane was named as a result of that connection.

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