Street Stories

Harding Avenue/Harding Street/Harps Street

With only 24,000 inhabitants, San Fernando is one of the smallest cities in Southern California. It's also one of the oldest, founded in 1874. Two streets in San Fernando honor the men who built the city.

In those early days, you could get a lot in town for $10. Two years later when the railroad arrived, prices skyrocketed to an astounding 150 bucks. Of course, if you wanted to sell real estate, you had to get somebody to map the land. Bill Robertson says, "Henry Harding was the original surveyor for the original subdivision of San Fernando. So he got a street named after himself."

Robertson is director of L.A.'s Bureau of Street Services. The San Fernando surveyor actually got two streets named for him: Harding Avenue and Harding Street in San Fernando. Of course, once you have streets, you need the houses.

"And then we have Harps Street. Named for Jacob Harps. He was actually the first builder in San Fernando, the city of San Fernando."

San Fernando had something its neighboring Valley towns did not: its own water supply. That allowed San Fernando to remain independent from Los Angeles, unlike other Valley towns that traded their autonomy for the guarantee of water from the L.A. Aqueduct.


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