1500 California Place Names
1500 California Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning
William Bright

I believe every Californian should own a copy of this book, and read it through.  Its title may suggest light
reading
, but it’s a substantial work in etymology published by the University of California Press. It
contains the kernels of stories about place names we use every day, usually without knowing why, such
as Alhambra, Antelope Valley, Azusa, Beverly Hills, Daly City, Castaic, the Golden Gate, La Tijera, Los
Angeles, Ojai, Pasadena, Tijuana, Temescal Canyon and countless others.  Because it is compact, this
is indeed the sort of book one can digest a page at a time, here and there.  After reading it all, the 1,500
etymologies come together like a jigsaw puzzle to give a much more complete picture of what the state
has been like at different times, and how it got to be what it is today.  The entries point toward a more
detailed look at whatever happens to catch your fancy.  Many times the origins of a name come as a
surprise, and other times an entry dispels a common myth or supposition about how a particular place
name came to be.
Book Reviews
by Glenn Anaiscourt