Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Westminster, CA: When Hoover Street Used To Be Named Eucalyptus Street

OCThen reader Janet Filbeck writes to us about Hoover Street in Westminster, indicating that it had originally been named "Eucalyptus Street", but was changed after a petition brought on by her grandfather. I had a series of e-mail conversations with Janet, and wanted to share this bit of Orange County history with you...

"I lived on a farm (Westminster on Hoover St. once called Eucalyptus St.) until I was 6 with my grandfather and family, then we moved to Santa Ana, Ca. My grandfather took around a paper from the court to have all the neighbors sign so they could change the name of Eucalyptus to Hoover since people then couldn't spell Eucalyptus, and grandpa was tired of spelling it for people. So they changed the name. "
Janet's grandfather was Halsey J. Crouch, who owned a farm along what was then Eucalyptus St, and now Hoover St, along the train tracks, between Main and Hazard, where the Green Valley Growers is currently situated. Crouch came from Quakertown, CT and used to enter his crops at the Orange County Fair.

I asked Janet how they came up with the name "Hoover Street"...
"I talked with my aunt about the road being changed to Hoover st. She said it was around the time I was born or late 40's. She said that grandpa went to the only court house then in Santa Ana and wanted to get the street changed because no one knew how to spelled the name. Grandpa's farm was near the main st she said. He grew melon and tomatoes with his many trees. Then he grew grapes. Grandpa also rented land across the street on Hoover st to grow green beans. I would be to small to remember the change of the street but my aunt remembers it. 
I thought grandpa change the street name before when my mom was young (and that would be in the 1920's but my aunt said it was before she got married in the 1940's."

Of course, located right behind Crouch's farm was the old Hoover School, the famed "Mexican School" that became the subject of a landmark discrimination case in 1947 concerning Mexican kids being denied enrollment at the other school in Westminster, "17th Street School". Hoover School was dedicated in 1929, and most likely named after Herbert Hoover, who had been President at the time. It seems likely that "Hoover Street" was named to align with Hoover School, but Janet seems to disagree...
"My Aunt said that Hoover School was there when they moved to that farm around 1933 right after the earthquake that torn down 17th school. She said it was built of bricks and they rebuilt it with wood. She said that the Hoover school had nothing to do with the Eucalyptus Street. She said that Eucalyptus trees ran all along the street to 17th Street to Garden Grove Blvd.

Grandpa moved on this farm after my great grandfather went blind and couldn't pay the taxes on the land. So my g-grandfather told my grandfather he could have the land if he paid the back taxes. So grandpa bought the land and bought a house for $100.00 and had the house moved to the land. But because of the rail road tracks he had to get a easement to move the house across the tracks and so he could get to his land. So he wrote the railroad and they granted his easement. Grandpa was the only farmer to have an easement from the Railroad on that street. 
Then in 1944-1946 grandpa (whole time my aunt grew up the street was called Eucalyptus St) went to the Santa Ana Court house to get a paper for all the neighbors to sign to change the name since no one knew how to spell the street name. After he got all the neighbors to sign it, he went back to the Court house and talked with a clerk and the clerk asked grandpa what he wanted to call the street if not Eucalyptus? Grandpa said something simple and they both came up with Hoover because of the president and it was simple to spell."
Crouch's Farm in Westminster, along what was then called, "Eucalyptus Street", and now called Hoover Street.  You can see the train running down the tracks. The street is on the other side of the train.  The people in photo are Margaret Crouch, Halsey's wife and Janet's grandmother, and Thelma Crouch, their daughter, who Janet refers to in her e-mail as her Aunt.
As it also turns out, the Mendez Family, who was the family behind the 1947 discrimination lawsuit, lived adjacent to Crouch's farm...
"My Aunt said that Hoover School was on the next street down and behind my grandfathers and the farm she grown up in. She called it in Mexican town. She said that the kids had there school and we had ours but they all played together and got along until the Mendez family put an article in the paper about the whites. The Mendez family (not sure that is how you spell it) lived right behind the farm. 
She said that many of the Mexican families loved my grandmother, the Lopez, Pena and Mendez family were some of her favorite families."
Curious to know if anyone here remembers Hoover Street in Westminster back when it was called Eucalyptus Street, and can add any more information about its name change?


  1. How about Magnolia in Garden Grove? Used to be called Cannery.

  2. And Knott Avenue used to be Hansen Street, named after Charles Hansen, who was the Chief Surveyor for Los Angeles and was respopnsible for laying out the town of Anaheim in 1857. Hansen was also responsible for planting the original vinyards. Not sure about Eucalyptus/Hoover Street though.


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