Santa Monica

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Santa Monica

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Santa Monica

The first Caucasian group to set foot in the area was the party of explorer Gaspar de Portolà, who camped near present day Wilshire Boulevard on August 3, 1769. There are two different versions of the naming of the city. One says that it was named in honor of the feast day of Saint Monica (mother of Saint Augustine), while the other says that it was named by Father Juan Crespí on account of a dripping spring, the Serra Springs, that was reminiscent of the tears that Saint Monica shed over her son's early impiety.

Regarding the latter, one of the padres noted in his diary that the group found a Tongva spring (where University High School is today). They re-named it "Spring of Saint Monica" to recall the tears that St. Monica shed for her reckless son, Augustine. This spring remains holy to the Natives Americans in the area.