Street name signs

Street name signs were used in a more standardized manner in the 1920s. They couldn't be seen in the dark and were made from various materials if posted prior to that time.

ASHLAND — The origin of how Ashland streets got their names is an interesting topic.

Some were named after important people such as U. S. presidents or local leaders as well as successful businesses. Others were named after local landowners or developers or perhaps the names of their wives or children. Some are named after fruits or trees indigenous to our area while some got a name that just seemed appropriate for a street in a pleasant neighborhood.

Street names such as Main, Center, First, Second, College and Park are the most popular in cities around the U. S. but it’s the uncommon names that are often the most interesting.

Main Street is where Ashland first grew into a bustling little city and our downtown buildings and blocks were home to many businesses including grocers, tailors, banks, bars, and restaurants. With the revitalization of downtown, many of those old buildings still house these types of businesses today. Center Street has been the home of farmers, clerks, merchants, bankers, judges, doctors, politicians and industrialists. These men and women who grew up in a nineteenth century rural setting, transformed it into the twentieth century community many Ashland residents know today.

The Markley family owned a large portion of land on the southeastern part of town but only one small street in the area bears their name. The Mykrantz family also had a lot of land but no street is named for them at all. However, Attorney H. A. Mykrantz did give Highland and Banning Avenues their names.

The Countryside area was laid out in the 1930’s. Because of its slight elevations and curves the entrances were named North and South Countryside Drives. The middle area got the names East and West Woodhill and Upland Drive.

Keen Avenue is named after Ray Keen who was a local developer. He had a daughter and her married name was Katherine Rook. Ray’s wife was named Luzetta. Rook Drive and LuRay Lane subsequently got their names. Mr. and Mrs. Roy Teeter named Charlotte Avenue after their daughter.

Elmer Stiffler and Leo Thomas owned land west of Broad Street which was once referred to as Broadview Heights. Elmer had a wife named Margaret and a daughter named Norma, so he created the name ElMarna Avenue. The name Thomas Drive is obviously named after Leo Thomas but his daughter married a Dove so that’s how Dove Drive got its name. Gayle Court and Marian Avenue were also named after wives of local landowners. Berry Street is named after the surveyor of the land. Cooper and Mowry Drives are named after their developers.

Ferrell Avenue was named after John Ferrell who lived at the house on the southeast corner of Center. The street marks the location of his apple orchards.

Heltman Avenue is named after former Ashland Mayor W. G. Heltman. He served from 1894-1902 and was responsible for helping to establish the water works, indoor plumbing, and flush toilets inside the city limits. Jennings Street is named after an early president of the First National Bank and Freer Court is named after Randolph and Jonas Freer who started the Farmer’s State Bank.

When Hillcrest Avenue was built, it got its name because Locke Mason once owned the land and his ancestral home was named Hillcrest. Luther Street was named in honor of Ashland’s first physician, Dr. Joel Luther. Duff Drive was named after local historian Will Duff who once owned the land in this area.

Mifflin Avenue was once known as Steamtown Road because it went to the lost town of Steam Town which was once home for a stagecoach stop and a steam sawmill. Orange Road got its name because Nankin was originally named Orange. Cleveland Avenue was originally known as Harrisburg Road because it led to Harrisburg, now known as Lodi, Ohio. This street was also once known as Hinkletown because of the many people bearing the last name of Hinkle who lived on it.

Race Street was once named Cemetery Street. In 1906, its residents petitioned city council to change its name to Race Street after the mill race that turned the wheel of the grist mill once located along the town creek near West Main Street. Greiner’s Lane was the original name of Pleasant Street.

A book titled “American Biographers” claims President Chester A. Arthur owned land here although he is not from Ohio. Lincoln, Garfield, Washington, Monroe, Hoover, Jackson, Harding, and Grant are all named after U. S. Presidents. Apparently, Arthur Street was not named after Chester Arthur but was named after Hamilton Arthur who had a home and lumber yard in this area prior to the Civil War.

After a street gets a name, what determines whether it is a road, street, lane, drive, etc.? Often, this is determined by local government and suggestions are made by developers. By definition a road is anything that connects two points, a street is a public road with buildings on both sides often running perpendicular, avenues have trees on both sides, lanes are narrow roads often found in rural areas, drives are long, winding roads shaped by environment, parkways are landscaped and with decoration, and boulevards are wide streets lined with trees.

It’s pretty obvious that names have become more creative over the years and don’t always follow the definitions. With catchy names such as Hunter’s Walk, Quail Trail, Lamplighter Loop, and Lindower Lane, naming has become creative and fun. And then there’s Foxborough Estates. Can you list all the “Fox” named streets in that area developed by Jack and Dan Cooper?

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