Who is Beverly, anyway? (Beverly Hills Centennial: The history)

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Max Stahl, opinion editor

Common understanding seems to hold that some woman named Beverly exercised a relatively large degree of influence in this hilly region of ours and got a city named after her for it. This Beverly, evidently, must have been pretty powerful in order to become the namesake of one of America’s richest cities. But, if you ask anyone who Beverly was, they won’t be able to answer. It may have something to do with the fact that she doesn’t exist.

Beverly Hills gets its name from Beverly Farms, an oceanside community within the city of Beverly, Mass. Burton Green, who owned the Rodeo Land and Water Company in the early 20th century, came up with the name as he recalled his happier years in Beverly Farms.

But how did that Beverly, Mass. get its name? According to Mental_floss magazine, English settlers named the community in 1668 after a town in Yorkshire England, called Beverley.

Originally, the town now known as Beverley was called Inderawuda, the name of a church founded there by the Bishop of York in 700 AD. In the 10th century, the townspeople changed its name to Beverlac, or beaver lake, because there was a large beaver population in the nearby River Hull. By 1037, the town was known as Beverley, and the Bishop of York who had founded the original church 300 years earlier was canonized as St. John of Beverley.

It’s almost too fitting that, when the Normans invaded Britain and destroyed virtually all of northern England, one of the only towns they spared was Beverley, namesake of Beverly Farms, namesake of Beverly Hills.

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