Street names honor presidents, founders

Series: Hinsdale 150 | Story 9

Do you know how streets in the village acquired their names?

If you said they're named after U.S. presidents, you'd be right 16 times.

But village founder William Robbins intended for the street named after the country's 20th president to have a different name, according to Timothy Bakken's 1976 book, "Hinsdale."

"The north-south streets of the new village were named for some national heroes: the recently martyred Abraham Lincoln, the victorious General Ulysses S. Grant, and, of course, George Washington," he writes. "Robbins intended the road south from Fullersburg to be Main Street, he named it that; we know it as Garfield Avenue."

Numbered streets were common south of the tracks when the original town was laid out in the mid-1860s. Sixth Street originally was a double-lane street with a parkway, according to Hugh Dugan's "Village on the County Line."

"When the street was paved, it was made a single drive," he writes.

North of the tracks, many early streets such as Maple, Walnut and Hickory took their names from trees. But not all residents knew the names of the streets on which they lived.

"Once when the village board took up the matter of paving Walnut Street, a man who lived on Walnut got up to inquire 'where that street was and in what direction it ran,' " Bakken wrote.

To remedy the problem, the village board ordered 200 street signs in June 1896 at a cost of 10 cents each. Robbins, whose name was given to a park and school, did not have the honor of having a street named after him. Only three roads appear to be named after one of the early settlers.

Oliver Stough was involved in Hinsdale's early development.

"Starting in the year 1866 with acquisition of the Jarvis Fox farm, he gradually came into possession, piece by piece, of over 1,000 acres north and northwest of the platted village," Hugh Dugan writes in "Village on the County Line."

Stough's original home still stands at 306 N. Grant St., where it was moved from its original location in the mid-1880s.

New York native Anson Ayres came to the area in 1868 and spent $8,000 on 80 acres of land that soon would make up most of the north side of the village, according to Bakken. The house he built, now at the corner of Washington and Ayres streets, also still stands today.

Benjamin Fuller moved into Brush Hill in 1843, Bakken writes, building the house at 948 York Road. Brush Hill was platted in 1851 for Fuller, who owned most of it, according to Bakken. "Fullersburg," as the area came to be known, was annexed by Hinsdale in 1923, and Fuller was its first postmaster.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean