Thursday, October 19, 2017

Who was the Houston in Houston Street?

1912 county plat map detail. East end of Houston St. in orange. (Color added).
Houston Street – once a notable thoroughfare through northern Orange County – was named for the pioneer Houston family, and probably more specifically for citrus rancher Joseph David Houston.

Built sometime between 1913 and 1925, Houston Street ran parallel to (and a bit south of) Orangethorpe Ave. Its western end was on the county line at Carmenita Rd. From there, it extended west to Hansen St. in the Buena Park/La Palma area. The road stopped at that point, but picked up again farther east at Manchester Ave. (the state highway) and continued eastward to its terminus at Euclid Ave. on today’s Fullerton/Anaheim border.

Joseph was born to William and Louise Houston in Centrailia, Illinois, around 1861. It appears that his family moved back and forth between Illinois and Kansas throughout his early years. In 1883, he married Eva Kennedy in Crawford, Kansas.  They had many children, including Rose, Cora, Minnie, Mamie, Eva and William. The family moved to Shiloh, Kansas and lived there for some years before following Joseph’s brother, Samuel S. Houston west to Fullerton in 1902.

Joseph came to own several parcels of land, including twenty acres near what became the southwest corner of Euclid and Houston Street, (about where the 91 Freeway crosses Euclid Ave. today,) and 450 acres in Riverside County. He served on the founding board of directors of the Fullerton Cooperative Orange Association, which was created in 1932. J.D. Houston died in Orange County on July 19, 1941 and is buried at Loma Vista Cemetery in Fullerton.
Photo from by Lesa Pfrommer
What remains of the family’s namesake road is now a string of unconnected segments of Houston Ave. in Fullerton and La Palma and Houston Street in Buena Park. These scattered pieces extend as far west as Harbor Blvd and as far east as Moody Street.

(I did this research at the request of my friends Ron and Elfriede Mac Iver, who are the City of La Palma's local historians. Unfortunately, I've misplaced their email address, so I'm sharing with everyone here.)