Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

It was just one hundred and sixteen years ago today that Christopher Lightfoot and W. H. Knott filed the original plat of Warsaw. Three young civil engineers from the east were hired by these proprietors to lay out the streets of the town which had already been designated as the county seat of our county.

In the evening of the day that the surveying was done a small group of people met at the "shot-tower" for the purpose of choosing the names of the streets of the new town. The group included the proprietors, the three civil engineers and several other interested persons. The shot-tower was a hotel located at the south-west corner of Detroit and Main streets.

By studying the names of the streets of the original plat one can understand a little better the thinking of the men who attended the meeting that evening. We know they had great respect for Washington and Jefferson, because they named streets after them. The name Union was used which shows that they were proud of the Federal Union which then numbered 25 states. The poetic name of the United States, Columbia, was also used which is further proof of their patriotism. Loyal to our own Hoosier State they named one street Indiana.

Lake street was named because at its northern extremity it came near Center Lake. Water street (now Fort Wayne) received its name from the fact that it was right along the water's edge. Main, Center and Market streets were named because the proprietors correctly felt that those streets would be principal streets in the town.

The story is told that after several hours spent in discussion there were still three more streets to be named. At this point someone suggested that they might be named in honor of the three engineers. As their last names were not euphonious, it was decided to use the names of their home towns. These men were from Detroit, Mich; Buffalo, N.Y., and Columbus, O. Therefore we find a Detroit street and a Buffalo street on the original plat. It was feared however, that if the name Columbus were used, it would be confused with Columbia. The third engineer was asked what street he lived on in Columbus, O. His reply of "High" provided the name of the last street on the original plat.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Oct. 21, 1952