By BARRY LANK
SOLANO CANYON— One hundred and fifty years ago this month, the neighborhood of Solano Canyon was founded. So a descendant of its founder has minted bronze and silver coins for the occasion.
In September 1866, an immigrant from Costa Rica named Francisco Solano bought three tracts of land from the city of Los Angeles, according to solanocanyon.org. Those 87 acres – plus 52½ more that were owned by Francisco’s daughter, María Agustina, and her husband, Guillermo Bouett – eventually became Solano Canyon, La Loma, Bishop and about half of Palo Verde.
Lawrence Bouett – who writes for solanocanyon.org and claims direct descent from Maria and Guillermo Bouett – started working on commemorative coins a year-and-a-half ago, and is now the spokesman for the group selling them. He said the market for the coins will obviously be limited to current and former residents of Solano Canyon, which stretches from N. Broadway on the east to Dodger Stadium on the west.
“I wanted a minimum order,” he said, regarding the initial minting. He now has 40 bronze coins and 10 silver coins in stock. So far he’s had four inquiries and one anticipated sale, he said.
The coins feature an engraving of Francisco’s eldest son, Alfred Solano (1857–1943), who surveyed and subdivided some of his family’s land, and bought some of it from the other heirs after his parents died. Alfred had the distinction of, among other things, being surveyor for the city of Los Angeles as well as the county – and of having a type of avocado named after him.
“Although Alfred lived in Solano Canyon only as a child,” Lawrence Bouett wrote in solanocanyon.org, “he is nevertheless the single person who is most responsible for the existence of the Solano Canyon community today.”
Coins are being sold through the Solano Canyon Facebook page.
Barry Lank grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, then went away for a seriously long time. He has worked in TV and radio, and currently helps produce The Final Edition Radio Hour.
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