Just about every town in America has an Oak Street. Van Nuys used to have one. Take Whitsett Avenue in the San Fernando Valley. Bill Robertson says it was "named after William P. Whitsett. People refer to him as the father of Van Nuys."
Robertson is director of L.A.'s Bureau of Street Services. He says Whitsett "was a major land developer and water official in Los Angeles."
But before it was Whitsett, it was Encino Avenue. Robertson says "Encino" is Spanish for oak.
"When Portola and his group first crested the Sepulveda Pass and dropped into the Valley, that was one of the first things they noticed was the abundance of oak trees and tall grass."
Good thing they liked the oaks. If California's first Spanish visitors had been more impressed by the weeds, Whitsett Avenue might have been called Hierba Grande.