Mount Vernon Avenue

It has always seemed odd to this writer that "Mount Vernon" should be chosen as a street name in the town of San Bernardino, where something pertaining to Indian or Mexican heritage would have seemed so much more appropriate.

Image of Mount Vernon School - 1890's
Mount Vernon School - 1890's

However, upon discovering the background of the person responsible for this name, it is, indeed, appropriate. It serves to tie West to East.

The donor of the name "Mount Vernon" was "Uncle" Joseph Hancock. His grandfather, Henry Hancock, was brother of the immortal John Hancock, first signer of the Declaration of Independence, "which honorable distinction Uncle Joe has lived and borne with becoming modesty."1

Hancock was born in 1822. He came to San Bernardino in 1854. He, together with John Garner and Joseph Thorn, became trustee of the Mount Vernon School District, and it was he who gave the name "Mount Vernon" to the school in honor of the home and burial place of Washington.

Uncle Joseph was still active and in good health when Brown and Boyd published their history in 1922 - and at that time he had attained the amazing age of 100. He was active for years in the Pioneer Society, and his portrait is prominent in many places on the walls of the Pioneer Society Log Cabin in Pioneer Park [The log cabin burned down in 1973].

Image of Uncle Joe Hancock
"Uncle Joe" Hancock
Image of Uncle Joe Hancock on his 100th Birthday
"Uncle Joe" Hancock on his 100th birthday

1 Brown and Boyd, op. cit., p. 684

[See also: Nick Cataldo's article on Mount Vernon]

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