Saturday, March 19, 2011

Normal (and other local) Street Name Origins

There is a document, courtesy of the McLean County Genealogical Society, posted on the internet that lists names of streets in Normal, Bloomington, and McLean County, and also lists the origins of those names.  Some of the streets were named for types of trees (Elm, Oak, Pine, etc.). Many of the streets were named for local people, although the list does not include information about those people. Some streets were named with Abe Lincoln in mind (Lincoln, Lincolnwood, Todd), one street was named for General Douglas MacArthur (MacArthur), and two streets were named for General Winfield Scott (Scott, Scott Street). A couple of streets were named for stores (Ward Drive for Montgomery Ward, and Carson Drive for Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co.).

A few streets have local historical significance: Butcher's Alley and Butcher's Lane were near slaughter houses; Circle Ave. was a former racetrack; Division St. divides Normal from Bloomington, of course; Fairview St. was near the fairgrounds (I never made that connection!); and Lumber St. was where lumber was unloaded from the train.  Two streets were named for cars: Continental Court was named for the Lincoln Continental, and Fleetwood was name for the Cadillac Fleetwood. London Way (as in England), Orlando (as in Florida), and Orleans Drive (as in New Orleans, Louisiana) were named for places.

Center, East, and North streets were so named because they represented the outer boundaries of the city/town at that time. The way this area keeps growing, that was definitely a mistake!

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