How Warsaw Streets Got Their Names -And Why

By Edwin C. Aborn

Recently while rummaging through some records, the writer encountered a document containing a list of the streets existing in Warsaw, dating from the founding of the town in 1835 up to and including the year 1894. The document has begun to turn yellow with H., but explains the reason why the streets had been assigned the nomenclature by which they are respectively known. Many new streets have been added since then and some names changed. A few streets also have been extended through vacant territory to a connection with streets already existing, said thoroughfares then consolidated under one name. The writer has endeavored to compile a list of the streets which have come into existence record up to 1894.

When the town site was platted in 1835 by John B. Chapman, three students in civil engineering were engaged to assist in the work of survey. Their individual names have long since been forgotten, but the home city of one was Buffalo, N. Y., another hailed from Detroit, Mich., while the third cllaimed Columbus, Ohio, as his place of residence. Upon completion of the work of survey a gathering (which in modern parlance doubtless would be termed a banquet) was held at a tavern which was constructed of logs and located on the site now occupied by the Christian Science church at the southwest corner of Main and Detroit streets. During the course of the evening with the subject of naming the streets of the new town plat was brought up.

North and South Streets
A start was made on the west with what was then a short trail. It was named Union street, as a tribute to the union of states, the spirit of patriotism in those days registering at high mark.

Next in order came Columbia street, so named in honor of the Goddess of Liberty, recognized as the emblem of freedom.

Washington street extends from its junction with Lake street southward to Prairie street and of course derives its name from George Washington, our first president, "Father of Our Country."

Lake street very appropriately received its name by reason of its meandering course along the west shore of Center Lake and the outlet into Tippecanoe River.

At this juncture the suggestion was made by one o the party that the young engineers who had rendered valuable services be accorded recognition by naming a street in complement to each of them. The names of the young men, however, could scarcely be called euphonious, and, as one of them is said to have remarked were inappropriate for street nomenclature. The suggestion was therefore made that a street be named in honor of the home town of each. Thereupon Buffalo and Detroit streets came into being. To give a street the name of Columbus, the home of the third man, would bear too much similarity to Columbia, the name already assigned to one of the thoroughfares. So the young man was asked to suggest a name of his own liking by which a street should thereafter be known. He replied that inasmuch as his home at Columbus was located on High street in the Ohio City he would recommend that name be applied to one of the streets in the new town. Hence Warsaw's High street.

Indiana street was so called in recognition of the Hoosier commonwealth. A movement was inaugurated a number of years ago to change the name of that thoroughfare to Indiana avenue, but for some reason the matter was dropped before assuming tangible form.

Hickory street is said to have derived its name from the fact that a grove of trees of that variety necessarily had to be removed in order to permit construction of the street.

Cedar street, extending north one block from Fort Wayne to Clark street, gets its name from large cedar trees which once adorned the home of the late Rev. John Hatfield on that street.

Park avenue came into being by the unification of three sections of streets formerly known as Oak, Landor and Larned. By ordinance passed b the city council July 24, 1895.

Tamarack street gets its name from the fact that when first constructed, it ran most of its length through a dense growth of tamarack trees.

Reed street. Now we are entering one of the Kist additions. The late A. T. S. Kist named this street in honor of one of his sons, Reed Kist. The next street east is only one block in length and bears the name of a daughter, Zoe.

Cook street runs north from Fort Wayne to the waters of Pike Lake and gets its name from the Cook family, early pioneers.

Wood street extends a distance of two blocks south from Center Street to perpetuate the memory of the late A. G. Wood, former mayor, for many years a resident of that section of the city.

Scott street was one of the first thoroughfares to be opened in East Warsaw and originally was known as "Scott's road," because of the fact that on one of the corners at the Center Street intersection lived a man by the name of George Scott, at that time one of Warsaw's leading business men.

Funk street, extending a distance of two blocks from Center Street south through the old fair ground addition, is named in honor of the pioneer family of that name.

Morton Place, a street of similar length, is named for Indiana's war governor, Oliver P. Morton.

Maple avenue was known as Card street prior to the opening of Oakwood Cemetery at its northern terminus.

Bronson street derives its name from the fact that in the early days of East Warsaw a man named Rush Bronson owned a large tract of land in that vicinity. Mr. Bronson is said by old residents to have been a musician of note and regarded as a bandmaster of great ability.

Sherman street perpetuates the memory of the gallant William Sherman, of Civil War fame. Grant street commemorates Ulysses S. Grant, commanding General of the Union army during the Civil War and twice elected to the presidency of the United States.

Colfax street, named for Schuyler Colfax, Indiana statesman and vice president of the United States during Grant's first term. Lincoln street takes its name, of course, from the martyred president, Abraham Lincoln, the great emancipator.

Then follows streets which derive their names from other former presidents, viz.: Cleveland, Harrison, Garfield and McKinley. It is to be deplored, however that a former city council recommended changing the name of Garfield street to Lindbergh, because of a street on the Pike lake front already carrying the name of Garfield. Such a procedure breaks the row of presidential names and it would appear to have been the part of wisdom to have assigned the name of Lindbergh to the street in the Pike lake district instead.

Argonne road marks the eastern city limits and leads from Center street south through the subway beneath the Pennsylvania railroad tracks to the gates of Winona park. This highway was named by the local post of the American Legion in commemoration of the memorable battle in France during the World War. The Legion is said to have in view, plans by which to greatly improve the highway by planting attractive shade trees on either side thereof.

In Warsaw early days no north and south streets existed between Hickory and Scott and all but one between Scott and Bronson, the two latter having been rough country roads.

The junction of Center and Market streets near the Walnut creek bridge was regarded as entirely "out in the country."

From Fort Wayne street north to the point where Lake street makes its final turn to the north, the western city limits are marked by West street. The streets above listed comprise all running north and south with the exception of a few short streets in newly-platted additions.

East and West Streets
Although the limits of the city extend to Walnut Creek on the south, Prairie street is the last thoroughfare to be platted.

Proceeding north the next thoroughfare is South street, so called from the fact that it was the town's southern-most street, in the early days when it was known as "the south road." Later it automatically took the name of South street. On July 24, 1895, the city council passed an ordinance declaring Hays street, which then extended west from Union street to the city limits, to be a part of South street. Again in May, 1930, when the street extension known as a Aborn road, connecting South and Baker streets was constructed, the council decreed that the thoroughfare for its entire length shall be hereafter known as South street. Baker street, which thereby lost its identity, derived hits name from the fact that the tract traversed by that street was pre-empted from the government by Abner Baker, one of the very earliest settlers of this region. South street is now one of the longest of the city's highways, extending as it does from the Palestine road on the west to the Pennsylvania's subway at Winona. In connection with a paved highway at eithers' end, south street in reality comprises a continuous pavement from Mentone to Pierceton, thence to an intersection with the Lincoln Highway (Road 30).

Jefferson street gets its name in commemoration of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. In 1858 the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway Company was granted a right-of-way over this street for its tracks through Warsaw and is still used by that railroad between Maple avenue and Union street. At the latter street there is a "jog" for a distance of about half a block in Jefferson Street. From that point onward to the city limits the railroad continues on its own right-of-way.

Market street begin at its junction with Center street, near the Walnut creek bridge, and runs thence eastward to the Argonne road, the entire length of the city from east to west. For many years the eastern terminus of Market street was at the Big Four tracks on Hickory Street, but back in the '90s a movement was inaugurated resulting in the extension of the street across the low lands and thence through the old fair ground tract to Bronson street, there uniting with the eastern section of the street already opened. Early settlers are said to have had in mind a project to provide a market space on this street for farmers who brought their produce to town for sale. Hence the name. For many years following the building of the P. Ft. W. & C. railroad, Market street, from Buffalo west to Union, at which point was located the grain elevator, frequently presented a continuous line of wagons laden with farm products, awaiting their turn to unload.

Center street forms a junction with Market street at the western city limits and the triangular tract thus created for a distance of a couple of blocks was in the old days commonly referred to as "The Flatiron." Center street is reputed to been given its name for the same reason that Center lake is so-called-namely it is the geographical center of the county. This street traverses the entire length of the city from east to West and from Lake street to the eastern city limits it is the route of the Lincoln Highway-U.S. road No. 30.

This street called the Main is said to have been the first regular thoroughfare established when the original plat of the village of Warsaw came into being. Measured by the present system, it was only about four or five blocks in length and was in reality nothing more than a rough country road. It was given the name of Main street because it was at that time "the" street. Upon it were located the principal stores, postoffice, wagon shop, blacksmith shop, harness shop, shoe shop, etc. An the extension westward was made at a later date to the present terminus at what is now Union street. The tavern stood on the site now occupied by the Christian Science church, at the intersection of Main and Detroit streets and was known as the "Shot Tower," from the fact that the upper story of the structure is said to have been provided with numerous small openings through which guns could be thrust and fired by those within in case of attack by Indians. When a two-story frame business room was erected at the northwest corner of Main and Buffalo the residents of Warsaw were as proud of that improvement as Chicago was of its first skyscraper. That building stood until 1920, when it was torn down to permit election of the auto sales room and spacious garage which now occupies that corner. Later Main street was extended eastward to Tamarack street where it terminated for many years. The growth of the city, however, demanded further expansion and Main street was again extended, about 30 years ago to Colfax street, at which place it turns into Center street, the Lincoln Highway.

Fort Wayne street extends from West street to Bronson. It derives its name from the fact that in pioneer days the eastern portion of the street was known as the Fort Wayne road, all of the travel between Warsaw and Fort Wayne being directed over that room via Oswego and what is to this day known in the city of Fort Wayne as the Leesburg road. Originally the triangular thoroughfare called Fort Wayne avenue was a part of Fort Wayne street proper, but on July 24, 1895, the city council adopted an ordinance merging Water street with the former and decreeing that the consolidated thoroughfare thereafter be known as Fort Wayne street. Water street is showing on the old map as having extended from Fort Wayne avenue to West street.

Clark street traverses the territory between the Big Four railroad and the eastern city limits and derives its name from S. B. Clark, for many years one of Warsaw's most highly respected citizens.

Canal street extends in a somewhat irregular course eastward from Buffalo to Detroit street and passes the south boundary of Center lake Park. This street formerly paralleled the Canal which years ago was constructed as a waterway to connect Center and Pike Lakes-hence its name.

Northward from Canal Street the waters of Center lake preclude the possibility of any remainder of the east and west streets from reaching Buffalo, which is the dividing line for such thoroughfares. All those streets on the west side of the lake, therefore must necessarily have Lake street as their eastern terminus, while those on the east side of the lake are required to end at Detroit street.

Porter street extends from Lake street to West street and takes its name from one of the pioneer families. Pike street also traverses the territory between the same terminals. This street is said to have originally extended to the shore of Center lake and its name is credited to a member of the older generation of the Philpott family who owned much of the land in that vicinity. He was an enthusiastic fisherman and the story is told that near the point where the street met the lake great quantities of fish of the pike variety were unusually abundant.

Perry street, likewise extending from Lake to West street, was so named in honor of Commodore Perry, who so heroically defeated the British forces in the memorable battle on Lake Erie during the war of 1812.

On the east side of Center lake and running eastward from Detroit street we have Arthur street, named in honor of former president Chester A. Arthur, and which extends eastward to Cook street.

Lyon street runs from Detroit street to Park avenue at the entrance to the lakeside addition, named in memory of an early settler. Lyon street is connected with Arthur by two short streets-Ellsworth and Gilliam, likewise named in honor of pioneers.

In the Newer Additions
In Chapman's addition in the southeast part of the city, we find Pope street, extending from Detroit street in a diagonal direction eastward to the Beyer canal, there intersecting Smith street. Pope was a pioneer resident who conducted a general store on the site where now stands Warsaw's new post office building.

McClellan street, another diagonal thoroughfare, named in honor of General George B. McClellan, of Civil war fame. McClellan street is the principal highway leading to the grounds of the Warsaw Country club.

Segal street, which also derives its name from an officer who achieve fame during the Civil war. In this condition we also have streets bearing the names of Hackleman and Banks. In the extreme southeast part of the city may be found Hendricks street and Durbin street named in honor of Thomas A. Hendricks and Winfield T. Durbin, both former governors of the Hoosier commonwealth.

Near the extreme eastern city limits are platted the following streets: Roosevelt, Taft and Adams, named respectively for former presidents. In the vicinity in the southwest part of the city known as Prospect Hill the plat shows streets designated as Morton, Logan, Wilson and Wheeler; also Harding avenue. These names are all derived from former presidents, vice president and governors. In that section the plat also denotes Eagle and Godman streets, the latter being named to commemorate the memory of J. V. Godman, a former city engineer, who lost his life in a sewer tragedy in 1904.

Smith street skirts the southern city limits from Beyer canal to the intersection with South street. The map of the city shows fragments of Smith street between High and Indiana; also between Washington and Columbia but the street has never been straightened out or connected up.

In the Lakeside Park addition streets have been platted, most of which are named in honor of some of the families prominently identified with the city's business and social life, viz.: North and south streets- Ellsworth avenue, Park avenue, Lakeside avenue and Brubaker street. East and west streets-Glessner, Biggs, Frazer, Hitzler, Alward, Simons, Webber, Oldfather, Widaman, Phillipson and Wood, existing in East Warsaw.

Historic Names Omitted
It is a singular fact that in but one instance has a historic or legendary name been bestowed-Miami street is in the extreme west part of the city, is but one block in length, extending northward from Center street. It is unfortunate that such names as Tippecanoe, Monoquet, Pottowatomie and other legendary Indiana nomenclature have been entirely disregarded.

Pine street also in the west part of the city is one block in length and is in reality a "jog" connecting North and South Union streets.

Warsaw Daily Times Wednesday June 29, 1932

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