There's a Vanowen Street in the San Fernando Valley. Bill Robertson says he's always wondered himself about that name.
Robertson is director of L.A.'s Bureau of Street Services. He says, "When you look at the history, you had pretty much two towns: there was Van Nuys, and then out in the far west valley was the town of Owensmouth. And so, Van Owen."
Owensmouth was founded in 1912. It got its name from "L.A. Times" owner Harrison Otis. He was counting on the nearby Owens River Aqueduct to help him sell real estate.
Owensmouth developers threw a big barbeque to help sell town lots, but a big dust storm put a damper on the day. Owensmouth survived, though today it's known as Canoga Park.