Indianapolis: State Named Streets

When Alexander Ralston made the plat for the town of Indianapolis, he named all but five streets (Washington, Meridian, Market, Circle, and Short) after states. (One would argue that number is four…but that is only because Washington became a state AFTER Indianapolis was designed.) In total, 38 (39) states have been given a street name in the city. But, there are some that have come and gone. Some never were.

The list of current state-named streets contains 27 names, and a partial (or two): Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The partial is Dakota Street, which runs north and south. That means that there are addresses, or used to be, on N. Dakota St. and S. Dakota St.

The first two state named streets that disappeared did so by 1831, a decade after the platting of the new Hoosier capitol city. Running parallel to each other on either side of Pogue’s Run were North Carolina and South Carolina Streets. (Another street that disappeared with those two was a connecting street called Short Street.)

Two more of the 1821 state named streets disappeared from the maps of Indianapolis near the end of the 19th Century. These two streets were named after states in the south: Mississippi and Tennessee. Mississippi Street became Senate Avenue. Tennessee Street became Capitol Avenue. Another state name was involved in these changes, sort of. In 1894, Utah Street, which is now Capitol Avenue from Morris Street south to past Arizona Street, was renamed Tennessee Street.

The fifth street south of Morris, running from Madison Avenue east, was originally called Texas Street. This street would also be called Lincoln Lane. Today, it is named Lincoln Street.

In the IUPUI complex, south of what is now Tenth Street, running from 408 N. Blake (later, when addressing in the city was adjusted, 800 N. Blake) west to Hiawatha Street, was Rhode Island Street. By 1904, Rhode Island was renamed Colton. The street would later be completely removed.

In the history of the city, there were actually two Nevada Streets, both at the same time. The first listed Nevada Street, in 1894, was described as “fr Hillside ave., w. between Eighth and Ninth.” The Eighth and Ninth Streets listed are now called 17th and 19th Streets, with this Nevada becoming 18th Street. The other Nevada Street, also in 1894, is listed as from “J. M. & I. (Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis) R. R. e to East, first s of Iowa.” This old Nevada Street is now known as Beecher Street.

Oregon Street, described as “fr Darnell n to McIntyre (13th), first w of West” in 1894, with intersections at 85 N. Oregon with Mayhew (now 12th) and 100 N. Oregon at Drake. This is one of the few street names that was removed in the city without having a replacement name. It is currently an unnamed alley connecting 12th and 13th Streets

Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and West Virginia have never been so honored with street names in Indianapolis. Both Maine and West Virginia make sense, talk about confusion.

That covers the 50 United States as of the writing of this article.

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