O.C. Answer Man: Who was Irvine’s Culver Drive named for?

untitledQ: Who was Irvine’s Culver Drive named for?

A: Hunchbacked lima bean farmer Fred M. “Humpy” Culver is immortalized in Irvine. His lease on the Irvine Ranch was located on the State Highway (now the 5 Freeway) where it intersected Trabuco Road and today’s Culver Drive. “Culver’s Corner”—marked by Humpy’s home and windmill—also marked the spot where the arrow-straight highway finally bent, sending many early automobile drivers into the ditch or worse. The name Culver’s Corner remained long after Fred’s death, at the age of 31, in 1918. Many other members of the Culver family also worked on the ranch, including Fred’s brother, blacksmith Willard “Gimpy” Culver. Gimpy earned his nickname when he was shot in the leg serving in the posse that fought the Tomato Springs Bandit in 1912. His blacksmith shop is now Knowlwood restaurant on Sand Canyon Avenue.

Chris Jepsen is the Answer Man. Have a question? Send it to cjepsen@socal.rr.com.

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