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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Is it time for Hermon to recover its lost identity?

Via Marisol was once known as Hermon Avenue.

The death of former councilman Arthur K. Snyder last week triggered a tweet and suggestion from the former Highland Park blogger known as Waltarrrr:

Former LA Councilman Art Snyder is dead. So can we please revert Via Marisol back to Hermon Avenue now??? #90042

Huh? What does Art Snyder have to do with Via Marisol and long-gone Hermon Avenue? Many long-time residents of Hermon and those familiar with its history know the answer.

As Waltarrrr explained in a follow up Twitter message, it was Snyder who in 1978 orchestrated changing the name of Hermon Avenue to Via Marisol in honor of his then three-year-old daughter, Erin-Marisol.  The newly renamed Via Marisol through Hermon lead from the 110 Freeway up the hilltop condo community of Monterey Hills, where Snyder also had the main street named Via Marisol, according to a May 1978 L.A. Times story.

The disappearance of “Hermon Ave.” from street and freeway signs as well as maps was a blow to many residents in Hermon, the small neighborhood located between the Arroyo Seco Parkway and El Sereno. One resident told the Times in 1978:

“The councilman stole our street and our heritage,” said a long-time resident. “It was highway robbery.”

Will the name “Hermon Ave.” ever return to street signs or Google Maps and The Thomas Guide?  That’s not clear but neighborhood activists like Wendi Riser, who publishes the All Things Hermon e-mail newsletter, have said that Hermon residents are better organized today to oppose such challenges to the neighborhood’s history and character. In an All Things Hermon newsletter sent earlier this year, Riser said:

I’m certain we’d have never let ex-Councilman Art Snyder rename our namesake street – Hermon Avenue — after a child of his, Marisol. We are watchful and engaged; a powerful combo.

22 comments

  1. I always wondered who Mariol was and why she had a street named after her. Rename the street to Hermon Ave!

  2. But, who was Hermon?

  3. Ugh.

    I highly doubt the councilman “stole” anything. I’m sure there were numerous chances for Hermon residents to at the very least let their voices be heard and at most become “watchful and engaged” and work together to do something to stop it. Unless of course the councilman simply went along the area taking down street signs on his own and putting up the Via Marisol ones. Perhaps he was twisting his moustache and laughing while he was doing it?

    If changing the street name was done properly at the time, why should it be changed back now? Because a few residents are claiming “stolen”? Puh-Leeze.

    I’m sure there are several Indians around now who’d like to speak to someone in regards to the long-ago purchase of an island in New York. I hear that “stolen” word thrown around about that quite a bit too.

    • http://www.arroyoseco.org/newsfull.php?artic=72

      The people tried…but if you know anything of politics of the time, Councilmen were pretty powerful…not that they’re not still powerful, but there are local organizations that developed to reclaim some control over local issues.

      I had seen the signs and wondered about the background on the name, thought it was probably deeply rooted in early California history.
      I’d like to see it changed back….

  4. Who cares?! It’s a waste of tax money to change the signs. Not to mention the businesses and residents who would have to change business cards and the endless change of address forms…

    It’s done. Live with it Waltarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  5. Why stop at the sign Waltar? Let’s tear down the whole neighborhood and rebuild all the old farms that were once in Highland Park. In fact, let’s get rid of that name. Eagle Rock too. Glendale, all of em. Reinstate the region’s name to Rancho San Rafael, the way God intended.

  6. The question “Who was Hermon?” might more commonly be stated as “Where is Hermon?” Installing correct Hermon Ave. exit signage on the Arroyo Seco Parkway would help raise the profile of a remarkable hillside community.

  7. From HermonLA.org: “[I]n 1903, Free Methodist (settlers) originally named the community ‘Hermon,’ after Mount Hermon mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible, the northern boundary of the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 3:8) given to the Israelites after the Exodus from Egypt. ‘See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers . . .’ (Deuteronomy 1:8 a,b)”

  8. “a remarkable hillside community ?”

  9. yes! it’s about time. the community of Hermon deserves this!

  10. Given the recent squabbles in the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council, street names do not appear to be the only things that turn up missing in the environs of this “remarkable hillside community”.

  11. my car was broken into in hermon not a good place

  12. The failed take over attempt of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council by the people from Hermon proves these people must not be given too much power. Give Hermon an inch and they take a whole neighborhood. Their power play failed and now we all know to keep an eye on them going forward.

  13. Hermon is a special place with remarkable views and a splendid sense of community. There is no panorama in Los Angeles quite so special as the one that unfolds when you crest the road-cut going north on Monterey – it’s a perfect way to impress visitors with the beauty of the San Gabriel Valley. Restoring the street name, and the parkway signage, is a small gesture that would mean a lot.

    • There is always a lot of b.s. about how great neighborhoods are in LA when they are just another appended car slum stapled onto a crumbling civic infrastructure. Hermon’s view from Monterey Road, however, is the real deal. The first time I crested that hill, and every time after it, I knew how special that crazy cut-out passage over the hills is. It is a really cool place to take first time visitors in LA. It is a great place to ride a bike through (if the car traffic is light).

  14. Right on, j gold! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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