John Alden Griffin, eighth generation & direct descendant of John Alden of Puritan fame, was born January 16, 1883 in Topeka, Kansas. Here, he attended public schools and graduated from high schools, where he received his advanced education at the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois.
In Chicago, after graduation, he began his career in structural engineering and designed power and round houses, right of way maintenance, and elevated structure design.
He came to Los Angeles in 1903, pursuing his profession in structural iron, steel and concrete construction private industrial projects.
A recognized valuation expert in municipal projects, he served as assistant City Engineer from 1908 through 1920. In 1920, he was appointed City Engineer and served four years as such. He had served during World Was I as Major of Engineers, 91st Division. After the war and retirement from city service, he followed his profession as consulting engineer until his death, date and year not immediately available.
In 1922, A. W. Ross established Wilshire Boulevard, based on the assumption shoppers would drive four miles to stores. The eighteen acres he bought for $54,000, then called his "Polly", became Wilshire Boulevard, a venture which initiated the new age of the shopping center. This same year the City completed $13,500,000 expenditure to buy the local distribution system of Edison Company.
During his tenure as City Engineer, Signal Hill drilling began, destined to be one of the world's great oil fields, the Los Angeles Coliseum was completed, and the first of 55 studies were made on the community problem studies eventually to bring about the freeway system.