You can drive for years in Los Angeles along streets with names that may at best seem murky. Case in point: the boulevard we know as La Cienega, which in Spanish means “the swamp.” That’s because long before the street became home to Restaurant Row or the Beverly Center, it was marshland.
In 1823, the Mexican government awarded Francisco Avila, the former mayor of the pueblo of Los Angeles, a land grant for Rancho Las Cienegas, the western edge of which is said to have been a Native American trail that traced the path of the future roadway. Avila set about raising cattle and twice married women whose names would eventually appear on street signs as well: Verdugo and Sepulveda. At what point La Cienega became a boulevard is a mystery, but portions of it were first paved in 1923, when much of the Mid City area had that new-home sparkle.
It connected with El Segundo Boulevard, just south of a Douglas Aircraft plant, in 1961. Total length? Just under 13 heavily traveled miles.