Laverne or La Verne?

April, 2000

What is the longest paved street in Homestead Valley? Assessor’s maps call it LA VERNE. A recent Public Works Department legal document has it as La Verne. Both agencies use the two word version, but the street signs say LAVERNE, one word. What’s going on here? Which is correct?

The 1903 subdivision map names it La Verne (two words). Four street names on the map resemble those selected today by tract developers: Ferndale, Ridgewood, Edgewood and Sequoia Valley. Others are named for pioneers. Reed was the first white settler in Mill Valley. Richardson (now part of Montford) was the original land grantee of Rancho Sausalito. Ethel was the daughter of Joseph Eastland, first president of Tamalpais Land & Water Company. The only other streets on the 1903 map are Homestead and Molino (it starts at the old mill) plus Montford and La Verne, both of uncertain origins. Such streets as Melrose and Hawthorne were named later. A 1911 map subdivided La Verne Heights on today’s open space land near Pixie Trail. Other subdivisions, Scott Tract and Worley Tract used La Verne.

The Laverne post office operated from Jan. 1909 to April 1914 in Cooper’s Grocery on today’s Linden Lane. A Mr. Robert Byrne received a post card in 1914 addressed to him at Laverne Cal Homestead. Shirts worn by the baseball team in a 1914 photo have Laverne written on them. A 1916 map of the Laverne Public Highway Lighting District shows locations of street lights. A 1924 Sanborn map for insurance companies uses Laverne for the street as well as for Laverne Public School at Melrose and Montford. Note all these references to Laverne, one word.

Telephone books of the 1930’s list addresses of subscribers on both Laverne and La Verne. Today’s uses Laverne.

Who was La Verne? Who was Laverne? Use your imagination. Either name should work, but La Verne Avenue goes back to 1903.

If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.