The Herald Bulletin

June 22, 2013

Jim Bailey: Where did Anderson’s street names come from anyway?

By Jim Bailey
For The Herald Bulletin

— There’s usually a story behind the name of the street you live on, or the one you travel to work or the store or church. It may have tremendous (though long-forgotten) historical significance. Or it might just be what tickled the fancy of whoever originally platted the street.

First, Second, Third, etc., streets are obvious; they were laid out as the cross streets south of White River in the main part of Anderson. The rest are not so simple.

Morton Street likely was named for a former Indiana governor. Sheridan and Sherman were both Union Civil War generals.

Local notables may have been the source of a few street names. Author Sanford Tousey is recognized in the two-block-long Tousey Street in Park Place. Charles Henry was a congressman credited with first coining the term “Interurban” for the rail system between central Indiana cities. Ruddle Avenue is named for J.M. Ruddle, who platted Park Place. And John Forkner was a local historian.

Confusion sometimes results from identical or similar street names in different parts of town. There are two Central Avenues, for instance, less than a mile apart, though few addresses are duplicated. Two Park Avenues and a Park Road keep people guessing. My guess is the Park Avenue in Park Place comes from its dead-end into Edgewater Park; the other Park Avenue, on the west side, and Park Road, bordering Edgewood, may originally have had similar significance.

Walnut, Chestnut and Buckeye are names of trees. Maplewood Avenue covers much of the distance between East and West Maplewood cemeteries.

Lindberg Road originally was named either for aviator Charles Lindbergh or for the school also named for him at its intersection with Nursery Road. The spelling, as I understand it, was changed during World War II when Lindbergh fell into disfavor over his antiwar activist stance.

Falls Court, a one-block street near Anderson University, comes from the Glenn Falls family, which built the first house on the street. Many such families are so remembered by such localities as Vinyard Street in North Anderson (hence the absence of “e” in Vinyard) and VanBuskirk Road.

College Drive and University Boulevard obviously signify their proximity to Anderson University (formerly Anderson College). Landmarks often lend their names to streets, for instance Hillcrest Drive on the east side, Golf Club Road in Edgewood and School Street in North Anderson.

On occasion streets receive new names. Postal Service authorities naturally abhor the red tape involved when this happens. It has been decades since Broadway replaced Baldwin Avenue, the name of a former mayor. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard replaced Pendleton Avenue (which, of course, was the route to Pendleton) and Rev. J.T. Menifee Street honored a longtime minister and civic leader, replacing Louise Street.

Which brings up a logical question: Who was this Louise (pronounced Lou-EYES) whose memory now is lost forever to Anderson history?

Jim Bailey’s reflections on Anderson’s past appear on Sunday. His regular column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by e-mail at jameshenrybailey@earthlink.net.