Mission Viejo In the Beginning

How the Early Streets were Named

 Have you ever wondered:

  1. Where the first houses built in Highland Ranch are located?
  2. What is the significance of that street name?? Or park name?
  3. Why was this park named “Springer Park”?   and on and on???

Well wonder no more!!

Many Street and Park names in Highlands Ranch have very definite historical ties!!   The first streets were named Coyote, Mountain Cloud, Jack Rabbit and Old Stone, among others.

And many have no ties except perhaps to pizza and beer!!  (yes,  pizza and beer may have played a role in naming our local area!!)


Mission Viejo purchased the Phipps Ranch, also known as Highlands Ranch, from Marvin Davis in 1978, shortly after the 1976 death of Lawrence Phipps Jr.

Soon afterward, coming here from Mission Viejo in California, City Planner Jim Toepfer went to work planning and leading the initial development of HR.

Mission Viejo (MV) hired the Advertising Firm of Brock and Associates to assist in marketing.  Unexpectedly one day, Kathi Brock, owner of the firm, was asked to help with street naming!!

Here is what she had to say about that!!

“One evening just as we were about to finish for the day, I received a call from Jim Toepfer.  Jim stated that he needed the street names for the first filing and he needed them FIRST THING IN THE MORNING!  I knew better than to protest, so I told my staff we would be staying until the job was done.  To entice them and keep their blood sugar up, we ordered in Pizza and Beer!  We got the thesaurus out, went through all of the wildflowers mountain ranges, and more.  Obviously we had the grid streets, Broadway would stay, University would stay, and we named all of the others in the first filing.   And thus started thinking of main categories of local animals, birds, locations, people, etc.  Hence the first names of streets, like Coyote and Jack Rabbit. So if anybody has any complaints, it all started with an advertising agency and probably too many beers and too much pizza late in the evening.”

Jim Toepfer went on to expand on his concept and ideas for street names.  Listen to the short video clip HERE

Written by Shirley Cavanaugh, HRHS Publicity Chair 2021 for the HR 40th Anniversary.