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|Moses Hazeltine Sherman|
December 3, 1853 |
West Rupert, Vermont
|Died||September 10, 1932(aged 78)|
Moses Hazeltine Sherman (December 3, 1853 – September 10, 1932) was an American land developer who built the Phoenix Street Railway in Phoenix, Arizona, and later built other lines and owned property in the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood, California. He also served on the Los Angeles Water Board.
Sherman was born in West Rupert, Vermont, on December 3, 1853. He obtained a teaching certificate at the Oswego Normal School in Oswego, N.Y., and began his teaching career in the area. In 1874 he moved to Prescott, Arizona, a small mining town where he continued teaching for two more years.
In Prescott, Arizona, Sherman acquired his capital brokering mines and ranches while a teacher and later Superintendent of Public Instruction. He earned the "General" title after appointment as Adjutant-General of the Territory of Arizona, in which position he served two terms. In 1884, he founded the Valley Bank of Phoenix, acting as President while simultaneously building the Phoenix Railway. His interest in the railroad system brought him both professional and personal success—he soon met Harriet E. Pratt, daughter of R.H. Pratt, a leading player in the Central Pacific Railway of San Francisco. They married in 1885 and had two daughters, Hazeltine and Lucy; Sherman also adopted Harriet's son Robert from a previous marriage.
With brother-in-law Eli Clark, an attorney, he acquired the capital addition to Phoenix when the town became capital of the territory in 1889. He moved to Los Angeles ca. 1890 to speculate in land and use the new electric railway, or trolley system, to boom his real estate promotions. He made millions and sold out his first lines to Huntington in 1904 for a reported additional six million dollars.
Developing Los Angeles
At the junction of his streetcar lines west of Hollywood, he built carbarns and created a city called "Sherman". The town would eventually evolve to become the city of West Hollywood. As part of his speculation in purchasing the southern San Fernando Valley in 1910, Sherman retained an interest in the neighborhood of Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley, which continues to bear his name to this day.
Sherman, in his role on the Board of Water Commissioners, received advanced notice of Fred Eaton's and William Mulholland's purchase of the rights to Owens Valley water with the intent to build an aqueduct to Los Angeles, triggering a rush to buy real estate. The income Sherman received from his real estate made up for his flagging railroad profits. In the great San Fernando Valley development that Sherman, H.J. Whitley, Harry Chandler and others started in anticipation of the Los Angeles Aqueduct and cheap water by buying out the Van Nuys-Lankershim lands in 1910, General Sherman (as he was called) added an extraordinary streetcar line. Built over Cahuenga Pass, through North Hollywood to the 1911 townsite of Van Nuys, and on to the 1912 townsite Owensmouth, now Canoga Park, the streetcar line and the "$500,000 boulevard" named Sherman Way next to the tracks were the key to the development. By 1912, 45 minute streetcar service from Van Nuys to downtown and the "no speed limit" paved road (if you could get your "Model T" to do 30 mph) were key selling points.
This entire grand highway was called "Sherman Way" in his honor and while the "naming" of parts of this grand highway was changed, the road and electric railway right of way survives in what is now called Chandler Bl, turning into Van Nuys Bl through Van Nuys, turning on Sherman Circle, and then on to Canoga Park (right of way lost to progress) in the middle of what remains a street still called Sherman Way.
After disuse and low ridership, the line died out in the 1950s, to be replaced in the 2000s with the MTA's Orange Line, a cross-valley approximation following the abandoned Southern Pacific route to Chatsworth, Sherman Way is currently served by Metro routes 162/163.
The street Sherman Way, running east-west from West Hills to Burbank in the San Fernando Valley remains (though it covers only half of the original grand highway). Sherman Way, as does Hazeltine Avenue, which runs north-south from Sherman Oaks to Panorama City, was named after his daughter, "Hazeltine".
- "Gen. Sherman's Career Closes". Los Angeles Times. September 10, 1932. p. A2.
- Hendricks 8.
- Masters, Nathan. (01 December 2011). "West Hollywood at 27: How the Town of Sherman Became WeHo". SOCAL FOCUS blog. Accessed 08 November 2012
- Gierach, Ryan (2003). Images of America: West Hollywood. San Francisco: Arcadia. p. 28. ISBN 0-7385-2850-1.