A pioneer Long Beach resident named Elvia Bartow Astle, the daughter of a prominent hotel owner named J.V. Bartow, proposed many of the street names in the center of town to the City Council in the early 1900s. She loved trees, so naturally that’s why we have an Elm, Locust, Pine, Cedar and Chestnut streets. When Elvia was in her nineties she could still be seen painting the city views from the sunroom of her ocean front property on Ocean Boulevard.
The Los Altos street Britton Drive is named after Barbara Britton – a star of stage and screen who was from Long Beach. The blond actress went to Poly High School and later went on to study speech at Long Beach City College, intending to be a drama teacher. Her affinity for acting, however, would instead ultimately land her a career in Hollywood and on Broadway. While riding on the Long Beach float in the 1941 Rose Parade, Britton was “discovered.” Movie executives from Paramount Studios saw a front-page picture of her from the event her and found her alluring. She was signed to a studio contract and went on to appear in such movies as “Captain Kidd” and “The Virginian.” She also did commercials for a makeup brand and starred in plays on Broadway.
Barbara (Erickson) London
Barbara London Drive, meanwhile, is named after one of the country’s first women aviators and wartime fighter pilots from the World War II Era. The street is located in front of Long Beach Airport and is referred to as “the loop road.”
Gundry, Mira Mar
Gundry Avenue off of Wardlow Road, is named after Mrs. Virginia Sterling Gundry, a widow who moved to Long Beach in 1905. She invested in real estate and later subdivided the land known as the Mira Mar tract. Mira Mar means “Behold the Sea” in Spanish.
The granddaughters of Los Altos developer Lloyd S. Whaley are responsible for the name of Lonna Linda Drive. Combining Linda’s name, the elder of the two, and Lonna’s name, the daughter of Whaley’s son Rodney, created Lonna Linda Drive.
Another street downtown, called North Alboni Place, is named after Italian singer Marietta Alboni. She was renowned as an Italian contralto opera singer and is considered one of the greatest contraltos in operatic history.