The area we now call Beverly Hills was a series of ranches until it was purchased in the 1880s by two men named Charles Denker and Henry Hammel. Their ultimate ambition was to turn the area into a “North-African themed subdivision called Morocco.” Severe drought and an economic collapse forced them to sell the land in 1900 to the Amalgamated Oil Company. After the company failed to find oil under the land, they changed their name to Rodeo Land and Water Company and called the area Beverly Hills, after Beverly Farms in Massachusetts.
Beverly Farms itself is named after the town of Beverly, which it
skirts. The town was once a popular tourist resort; President Taft
had a summer house there. It also claims to be the birthplace of the
U.S. Navy, although this is debated. In 1668, English settlers named
the town after the village of Beverley in Yorkshire, England.
So why was this English town called Beverley? Because in the 700s, a
bishop named John founded a monastery in the town of Inderawuda and
called it Beverlac, possibly after a colony of beavers in a nearby
Eventually a slightly altered version of the name came to stand for
the whole town, and Bishop John became known as St. John of Beverley
after his canonization in 1037.
There you have it: Beverly Hills is actually named after some
medieval English beavers.