Minneapolis Alphabet Streets

Did you ever wonder where the names of the alphabet streets came from?

Alphabet Street Names (North and South Minneapolis):

Aldrich Ave was named for Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Aldrich was a poet, and editor of the Atlantic Monthly magazine in the late 1800's. Aldrich hailed from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. See also Cyrus Aldrich (1808-1871), who came to Minnesota in 1855. He was involved in real estate and politics and served as the Postmaster of Minneapolis from 1867-1871.

Bryant Ave was named for William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), an early American Poet and Editor.

Colfax Ave was named for Schuyler Colfax (1823-1885). He was Vice President of the U.S. under Ulysses S. Grant in 1869.

Dupont Ave was named for Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Dupont. He was a naval commander in the Mexican and Civil Wars. Made Rear Admiral rank in 1863.

Emerson Ave was named for Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), poet and transcendentalist. Born in Boston, Massachusetts.

Fremont Ave was named for John C. Fremont (1813-1890), officer in Union Army and later explorer of Western U.S.

Girard Ave was named for Stephen Girard (1750-1831), who was a merchant and philanthropist and founder of Girard College in Philadelphia.

Humboldt Ave was named for Friedrich Alexander Humboldt, (1769-1859) a German scientist and naturalist who traveled through Mexico, Cuba and South America in 1799.

Irving Ave was named for writer Washington Irving (1783-1859), creator of Ichabod Crane (Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and Rip Van Winkle. A resident of New York City, he was appointed to the post of U.S. Minister to Madrid, Spain in 1842.

James Ave was named for George P. R. James (1801-1860), an English novelist and writer.

Knox Ave was named for General Henry Knox (1756-1806), an artillery commander in the Revolutionary War and later the U.S. Secretary of War (now Defense) from 1785-1795. Fort Knox in Kentucky is also named after him.

Logan Ave was named for John A. Logan (1826-1886), a Civil War General from Jackson County, Illinois. Served with William Tecumseh Sherman on his March to the Sea. Served in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate. Was also a Republican Vice Presidential candidate.

Morgan Ave was named for Colonel George N. Morgan (1825-1866), enlisted in the 1st Minnesota regiment in 1856 and later became a Brigadier General.

Newton Ave was named for Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726), a British philosopher and mathematician who wrote the theory of universal gravitation. He was the first person to drop things from high places not just for kicks.

Oliver Ave was named for Deacon A.M. Oliver of the Presbyterian Church in Missouri. His widow was a generous donor to the Oliver Presbyterian Church in south Minneapolis, and to Macaleaster College.

Penn Ave was named for William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania.

Queen Ave: The name has no real significance, it's just a word that starts with Q. Sorry to get your hopes up.

Russell Ave was named for Roswell P. Russell (1820-1896), who came to Fort Snelling in 1839 and later opened who opened the first store in the old city of St. Anthony in 1847. He was the Receiver of the U.S. Land Office from 1854-1857.

Sheridan Ave was named for General Phillip Henry Sheridan (1820-1891). Sheridan was a Civil War hero from Albany, NY. Helped end the Civil War by cutting off Confederate General Robert E. Lee's retreat from the battle of Appomattox. He became the commander of the U.S. Army in 1884.

Thomas Ave was named for George H. Thomas (1816-1870), a Civil War General for the Union Army.

Upton Ave was named for General Emory Upton (1839-1881). He was a Civil War General for the Union Army and later the Commandant of Cadets at West Point from 1870-1875.

Vincent Ave was named for Thomas M. Vincent (1832-1909). He graduated from West Point in 1853 and was the assistant Adjutant General of the U.S. through the Civil War.

Washburn Ave was named for Cadwallader C. Washburn (1818-1882) or William D. Washburn Both founders of the Washburn Crosby Company (later General Mills). C.C. Washburn was a Governor of Wisconsin from 1872-1873 and built the mighty Washburn "A" mills in 1874 and 1878. W. D. Washburn was a Senator from Minnesota. Both had tremendous influence on the early political and economic life of the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota. W. D. went on to play a major role in the founding of both the Minneapolis and St. Louis and the Soo Line Railroads.

Xerxes Ave was named for Billy-Bob Xerxes, famous monster truck driver and home town hero. He holds a world record for squashing 110 flaming Ford Pintos in his truck THE X GUY. Unfortunately, he was fatally wounded and his truck was reduced to a smoldering pile of fiberglass trying for number 111. Yes, I'm pulling your leg, dear reader. Unfortunately, the name has no real significance, it's just a word that starts with X. Sorry.

York Ave was named for Cornelius Dork. Dork was a Civil War hero who later went on to found the Department of Needless Studies at the University of Minnesota. He had a long and distinguished career as a political and fashion advisor to many politicians throughout the country. To honor his life the city wanted to name a street after him, but the hand wringing types at city hall had a problem with "Dork Avenue," so they changed the first letter to the unused letter Y and rest is history. It's also a boldface lie. The name has no real significance, it's just a word that starts with Y.

Zenith Ave: was named for the Zenith Television Corporation. The last American electronics company to build television sets here in the good ol' U.S.A.. In 1999 when H. Ross Perot and the Reform Party were happy to have our rasslin' Governor, Jessie "The Body" Ventura on board, Perot gave a ton of money to the city to rename Zebulon Ave (for Col. Zebulon Pike, surveyor and purchaser of the site of Fort Snelling). Zenith was the name chosen to give props to a company that still had the pride to manufacture idiot boxes on our soil. That and the fact that Perot's Wal-Mart and Sam's Club sold billions of their T.V.s. Actually, the name Zenith has no real significance, it's just a word that starts with Z.

Special thanks to Hennepin County History magazine (Fall, 1959).

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