Thursday, April 23, 2015

What's In a (Street) Name?

When Lawrence was originally platted, north-south streets were named for the states in the union starting with the order they were admitted in the east. East-west streets were named after Revolutionary War heroes. The state street names begin with Delaware Street about two blocks west of Haskell Avenue. Interestingly, Oregon Street was placed between Delaware and Haskell sometime before 1960, New York (the 11th State) is where Georgia should be and Georgia has never been added to the city. Connecticut and Massachusetts Streets should be right next to each but are instead separated by Rhode Island (13th State) and New Hampshire (9th State) Streets. There is also no North or South Carolina (a Carolina Street does exist near Lawrence High School however, as does Virginia Street) exists.

After passing Massachusetts Streets, the streets follow the order pretty regularly: Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Alabama, Maine, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan and Florida. Next should be Texas Street but instead it's Minnesota followed by Colorado and Wisconsin and then Iowa Street (the main north-south thoroughfare through Lawrence) ends the state street naming. Lawrence doesn't have streets named after Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. And it's been pointed out that if the correct naming had been retained, Kansas Street would be roughly where Iowa Street is, thus making the name a bit more fitting. Instead, Kansas Street is located in the Park Hills Neighborhood off of Louisiana Street.

The east-west streets are now numbered streets after being renamed in 1913. Ironically the numbered streets begin with 2nd Street and not 1st Street. Originally, they were named for Revolutionary War heroes.

Mason Street (should be 1st Street) was probably named for George Mason (1725-1792), one of the Fathers of the Bill of Rights.
An old street sign at 3rd & Indiana in the Pinckney
neighborhood. These old signs are quickly being
replaced with newer ones.

Jay Steet (2nd Street) was probably named for John Jay (1745-1829), influential Founding Father and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Dane Street (3rd Street) was probably named for Nathan Dane (1752-1835) a Continental Congressman who authorized the Philadelphia Convention to amend the Article of Confederation which later became the United States Constitution.

Reed (4th Street) was probably named for Joseph Reed (1741-1785) who served as a Colonel in the Revolutionary War and later became Secretary of State in New Jersey.

Penn (5th Street) was probably named for John Penn (1741-1788) who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.

5th & Ohio, also in the Pinckney neighborhood.
Pinckney (6th Street, the neighborhood and school) was probably named for Charles Pinckney (1757-1824) who was a governor, Senator and signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Winthrop (7th Street) may have been named after the influential Winthrop family whose members founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony, served as governor of Connecticut and noted Harvard professor.

Henry (8th Street) was probably named after Patrick Henry (1736-1799) a signer of the U.S. Constitution and noted for saying "Give me liberty or give me death."

Warren (9th Street) was probably named for Joseph Warren (1741-1775), a doctor who participated in the Battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill.

Berkeley (10th Street) may have been named for William Berkeley, a governor from Virginia in the 1600s. I couldn't find any noted Revolutionary War era people named Berkeley.

Quincy (11th Street) was probably named for Josiah Quincy, a Revolutionary War soldier who served alongside George Washington.

Hancock (12th Street) was probably named for John Hancock (1737-1793), signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Lee (13th Street) was probably named for Henry Lee III (1756-1818), who would become a Major General and the father to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The street signs in Old West and East Lawrence
note the current name and the historic name.

Adams (14th Street) was probably named for Samuel Adams (1722-1803) a Founding Father who would serve as governor of Massachusetts.

Morris (15th Street) was probably named for Robert Morris (1734-1806), a signer of the Declaration, Articles of Confederation and the Constitution and was considered, after George Washington, the most powerful man in America.

Euclid (16th Street) may have been named for Euclid, Ohio, one of the first cities established outside the original Thirteen Colonies. Euclid was founded in 1796 by a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War, David Dille.

Ontario & Sherman (17th Street) Ontario was named for Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York which was one of several forts built by British to protect the east end of Lake Ontario from the French. Sherman was probably named for Roger Sherman (1721-1793), an early lawyer and politician of our country. He was the only person to sign the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution.

Sherman ran from present-day Naismith Drive to Louisiana; Ontario ran from Louisiana to Connecticut.

Rogers & Bews (18th Street) Rogers may have been named for George Rogers Clark (1752-1818), one of the most decorated military officers in the Revolutionary War. I was unable to locate information on the name Bews.

Rogers ran from present-day Naismith Drive to Louisiana; Bews ran from Tennessee to Vermont.

Banks & Leis (19th Street), it's here where the names seem to change from American Revolution honors to Civil War ones. Banks may have been named for Union General Nathaniel Banks (1816-1894) since Banks/19th would've been added after the Civil War. I was unable to verify who Leis might be named for but there was a Civil War solider named John Leis that I found several mentions of.

Senator (20th Street) Clearly I am not going to be able to verify why this street was named Senator. The name could have been chosen to honor Senator James Lane (1814-1866), who moved to Kansas in 1855 and became a staunch abolitionist and Union general, or Senator Stephen Douglas (1816-1861), namesake for the county and prominent politician during the Bleeding Kansas days.

Merchants (21st Street) A common street name, I am unable to determine if this street was named for past businesses that may have been located along this street or to honor someone with the surname Merchants.
22nd & Rhode Island in the Barker

Carmean & Hosford (22nd Street) I found only minor instances of the names Carmean and Hosford in the Civil War: David Carmean and John Hosford., who you can more about here.

Bishop (23rd Street) I could not find a namesake for what would become the major east-west thoroughfare through Lawrence but found a guy named Richard M. Bishop (1812-1893) who we can all imagine was the namesake. There is a chance that it was named for Reverend William Bishop who presided over the Presbyterian Church from 1858 to 1860.

Not mentioned in this post but Mechanic
Street was probably named for the industrial
businesses centered around it and railroad.
In North Lawrence, east-west streets are your standard city street names, named after trees: Elm, Locust, Walnut, Oak, Hickory, Ash and Maple. There are few street names in honor of people such as Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865), Lyon (Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, 1818-1861, the first Union general killed in the Civil War), Perry (possibly named for John D. Perry, 1815-1895, president of the Kansas Pacific Railroad that was built through North Lawrence), Lake, may have been named for the lake at Bismarck Grove that was stocked with swans every year for the Bismarck Grove Fair, Funston (Edward Funston, 1836-1911, represented Lawrence in the U.S. Congress from 1884 to 1894 and was the father of Medal of Honor recipient Frederick Funston) and Maiden, I was unable to find an origin for this name which probably differs from the Maiden Lane in New York City which was named for the women who lined the street cleaning their laundry in the now-long-gone creek. Another street, Grant Street, was more than likely named for Grant Township, the township North Lawrence sits in which, in turn, was named for Ulysses S. Grant after being annexed to Douglas County in 1870 from southern Sarcoxie Township in Jefferson County.

The north-south streets are now numbered with North 1st, North 2nd, North 3rd to North 9th Streets but before they were numbered they were given state street names that corresponded with  their southern alignment. North 4th was New York Street, North 5th was Pennsylvania, etc. They were renamed with the southern numbered streets in 1913.

Disclaimer: These are based on my own research and may be inaccurate. I have researched each name and consider this list as correct as possible. If you feel that I have erred somewhere, please let me know via the contact form.