The Community of La Verne originated with Isaac W. Lord’s purchase of land from Jose Palomares in the mid-1880’s, and in 1887 Lord had the land surveyed and began selling lots. He originally named the community Lordsburg after himself, and immediately set about building a motel, post office, and water mains. However, the expected land boom did not materialize and several years later the still-vacant 60-room motel built by Lord was sold to the German Baptist Brethren Church as the location for a new college.

Some ranchers settled a bit further north from the town area, in the foothills, and developed an area they named “La Verne,” which they believed to be a French term meaning “spring-like” (it actually means “the alder”). Following the death of Lord in 1917, the citizens of Lordsburg voted to change the city’s name to La Verne, and even arranged a symbolic wedding between “Miss Lordsburg” and “Mr. La Verne” as part of the official naming ceremony!

The Depression saw an end to new construction in La Verne, and the decline of the citrus industry in the community in the 1940’s immediately followed. The last two orange groves from this period remain today on the grounds of the La Verne Mansion and Heritage Park. Today, La Verne continues to thrive as a suburb of Los Angeles.

By Scott Piotrowski