List of Chicago placename etymologies

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Source of the place names in the U.S. city of Chicago, Illinois.

Place Name Source
Adams Street John Adams, second President of the United States
Addison Street Thomas Addison, English doctor, discoverer of Addison's disease[1]
Altgeld Gardens John Peter Altgeld (1847-1902), Governor of Illinois from 1893-1897.
Andersonville Named for the Andersonville School, which in turn was named for Reverend Paul Andersen Norland[2]
Archer Avenue Col. William Archer, the first commissioner of the Illinois and Michigan Canal
Archer Heights Named for Archer Avenue (see above)
Armitage Avenue Thomas Armitage, founder of the American Bible Union[3]
Artesian Avenue A productive artesian well on the corner of Chicago Avenue and Western Avenue
Ashburn The community served as a dumping ground in the 1800s and turn of the last century for ashes collected from Chicagoans' fireplaces and coal-fired furnaces.[4]
Ashland Avenue The Ashland estate of Kentucky statesman Henry Clay
Austin Businessman and real estate speculator Henry W. Austin.[5]
Avalon Park Named for the Avalon Park Community Church, formerly called Pennytown after a shopkeeper.[5]
Back of the Yards Named for its location near the Union Stock Yards.[5]
Beach Avenue Real estate developer E. A. Beach
Belmont Avenue Battle of Belmont
Blue Island Avenue Led to Blue Island, a ridge of land that appeared to be an island to pioneers
Bowmanville Early settler Jessie Bowman sold lots that he did not own, then fled
Bridgeport Claimed to be for a bridge over the Illinois and Michigan Canal, although there is no evidence that the bridge ever existed.[6]
Brighton Park Either for the cattle market in Brighton, Massachusetts, or for Brighton Racecourse in England
Broadway Named for the New York City Broadway, formerly known as Evanston Avenue.[7]
Bubbly Creek The creek derives its name from the gases bubbling out of the riverbed from the decomposition of blood and entrails dumped into the river in the early 20th century by the local meatpacking businesses surrounding the Union Stock Yards.
Bucktown Residents kept goats in their yards
Burnside General Ambrose Burnside
Calhoun Place Not, as is commonly believed, for U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun, but rather John Calhoun, who published Chicago's first newspaper, the Chicago Democrat.[8]
Calumet River Calumet means "peace pipe" in Illiniwek
Canaryville Refers to the sparrows who fed in the stockyards and railroad cars in the late 19th century. The name may also refer to youth gangs in the neighborhood, who were known as "wild canaries".[9]
Cermak Road Slain Chicago mayor Anton Cermak (formerly 22nd Street)
Chicago River A French rendering of the Miami-Illinois name shikaakwa, meaning wild leek.[10][11][12]
Cicero Avenue Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero[13]
Clark Street George Rogers Clark
Clinton Street DeWitt Clinton
Clybourn Avenue Archibald Clybourn, the first policeman of Chicago
Columbus Drive Christopher Columbus[14]
Congress Parkway U.S. Congress, notable because formerly Tyler Street after John Tyler, tenth President of the United States but changed by the Chicago city council, due to his unpopularity during the American Civil War
Constance Avenue Konstanz, Germany
Cook County The county in which Chicago is situated was named after Daniel Pope Cook, who served as the second U.S. Representative from Illinois and the first Attorney General of the State of Illinois
Cottage Grove Avenue A small cottage in a charming grove.[15]
Damen Avenue Father Arnold Damen, founder of St. Ignatius College Preparatory School
Dearborn Park and Dearborn Street named for Fort Dearborn which was built on the present day site of Chicago, which in turn was named for General Henry Dearborn, American Revolutionary War veteran and Secretary of War under Thomas Jefferson.
DeKoven Street John DeKoven (founder of Northern Trust)
Devon Avenue Named by developer John Lewis Cochran after Devon station on the Main Line north of Philadelphia.[16]
Diversey Parkway Beer brewer Michael Diversey
Douglas Park Senator Stephen A. Douglas[5]
Dunning Andrew Dunning, a real estate speculator[17]
DuSable Park Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, first non-native resident of Chicago.[18]
Edgebrook Refers to the edge of the North Branch of the Chicago River[5]
Edgewater Refers to the edge of Lake Michigan[5]
Elston Avenue Alderman and banker Daniel Elston.[19]
Englewood Englewood, New Jersey
Euclid Avenue Euclid, Greek mathematician
Fairbanks Court Nathaniel Kellogg Fairbank, Chicago industrialist
Fillmore Street Millard Fillmore, thirteenth President of the United States
Foster Avenue Doctor John H. Foster (1796-1874), member of the Chicago Board of Education.
Fuller Park Melville Fuller, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Fullerton Avenue Alexander N. Fullerton (1804-1880), lawyer and lumber magnate, who arrived in Chicago in 1833[20]
Fulton Street Robert Fulton
Franklin Street Benjamin Franklin
Garfield Boulevard See below
Garfield Park The centerpiece of a three park and interlinking boulevard system, the 185-acre (0.75 km2) park (formerly Central Park) was renamed to honor twentieth President of the United States James A. Garfield after his assassination in 1881. Garfield Boulevard and the Garfield Park Conservatory are also named for him.
George Street Settler Sam George sighted the last bear in Chicago at the corner of Adams and LaSalle Streets in 1834. The bear was promptly killed by another settler, John Sweeney.
Gladys Avenue Gladys Gunderson, a member of the Norwegian-American family that formed a successful 19th-century Chicago real estate firm, S. T. Gunderson & Sons. Gladys Park is also named for her. Another city street, Langley Avenue, and city park is named for another relative, Esther Gunderson Langley.[21]
Grand Avenue Named for a statement by Thomas J. V. Owen, the first Town President of Chicago, who said "Chicago is a grand place to live."[22]
Grant Park Ulysses S. Grant, eighteenth President of the United States. Originally named Lake Park, it was renamed for Grant in 1901.
Halsted Street William Ogden named it for William and Caleb Halsted, brothers from New York who developed parts of the Loop
Harrison Street William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States
Hegewisch Adolph Hegewisch, who laid out the town of Hegewisch which is now part of the 10th Ward of Chicago
Hirsch Street Also Hirsch High School; rabbinical scholar Emil Gustav Hirsch [23]
Honore Street For Henry Honoré, developer and father of Bertha Palmer
Howard Street Howard Uhr, who donated the Howard Street right-of-way to Chicago
Hoyne Avenue Named after Thomas Hoyne, who was elected to be mayor of Chicago, but was never allowed to take office
Hubbard Street Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard, who arrived in Chicago in 1818.[24]
Humboldt Park The park and a boulevard are named for Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist and explorer
Hyde Park Named by developer Paul Cornell to evoke the wealth of both Hyde Park, New York and Hyde Park, London.[25]
Jackson Boulevard Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States
Jackson Park Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States
Jarvis Avenue & Jarvis Square Named for R. J. Jarvis.[26]
Jefferson Street Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States
Jeffery Boulevard Edward T. Jeffery, Chief Engineer of the Illinois Central Railroad[27]
Kedzie Avenue John H. Kedzie (1815-1903), an attorney who developed the North and West Sides of Chicago and parts of Evanston. He helped establish the Republican Party in Illinois.[28]
Kewanee Avenue A lek for Prairie chickens called "Kewanee" in the Winnebago language was located there
King Drive Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Formerly South Park Drive, the first street in the nation to be named for King after his assassination
Kinzie Street John Kinzie, who settled near the river in 1804.
Kosciuszko Park Tadeusz Kościuszko, Polish-Lithuanian soldier who fought in the American Revolution.[29]
Lake Shore Drive A freeway running parallel with and alongside the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The downtown portion opened as Leif Ericson Drive in 1937 and was also called Field Boulevard but in 1946 was renamed Lake Shore Drive
Lake Street Named for Lake Michigan[30]
LaSalle Street Sieur de La Salle, an early explorer of Illinois
Lincoln Avenue, Lincoln Park Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States. This is one of the few diagonal streets in Chicago. Prior to Lincoln's assassination the street was known as Little Fort Road as it led to the town of Little Fort, now Waukegan, Illinois
Lincoln Park Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States. Originally Cemetery Park, then Lake Park, it was renamed for Lincoln following his assassination in 1865.
Logan Square Gen. John A. Logan
Loomis Boulevard Horatio G. Loomis, one of the organizers of the Chicago Board of Trade in 1848
Madison Street James Madison, fourth President of the United States
Maxwell Street Dr. Philip Maxwell, one of Chicago's first surgeons
McClurg Court A. C. McClurg, Chicago publisher
McKinley Park William McKinley, twenty-fifth President of the United States
Michigan Avenue Named for Lake Michigan[31]
Midway Airport Battle of Midway
Midway Plaisance The central path (Middle Way) connecting Washington Park to Jackson Park, built for the World's Columbian Exposition. Plaisance is from the French for Pleasant. The name "midway" has been adopted for the portions of amusement parks where rides and games are set up.[32]
Milwaukee Avenue Algonquin word for "the Land."[33]
Monroe Street James Monroe, fifth President of the United States
Normal Avenue For the Chicago Normal School (now Chicago State University)
North Avenue Was the northern boundary of the city when the street was named.[34]
Oak Street Named for the oak tree.[35]
Ogden Avenue William Butler Ogden, first mayor of Chicago
O'Hare Airport Edward "Butch" O'Hare, World War II flying ace and Medal of Honor recipient
Ohio Street Named for the state of Ohio, which means "beautiful river."[36]
Pershing Road General John J. Pershing (formerly 39th Street)
Pilsen Plzeň, a city in the Czech Republic
Ping Tom Memorial Park Ping Tom, Chicago Chinatown businessman and civic leader.[37]
Polk Street James K. Polk, eleventh President of the United States
Prairie Avenue Named for the Illinois prairies.[38]
Pulaski Road Casimir Pulaski
Pullman neighborhood Pullman Palace Car Company
Quincy Street John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States
Randolph Street named for Randolph County, Illinois as was part of the original plot of Chicago.
Ridge Boulevard/Avenue Runs along a ridge formed by Lake Michigan
Rogers Park Pioneer settler Philip Rogers
Roosevelt Road President Theodore Roosevelt (formerly 12th Street)
Rush Street Named for Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Rush Street dates back to the 1830s incorporation of Chicago.
St. Louis Avenue The street and St. Louis Park are named after Louis IX of France
St. Clair Street Named after Revolutionary War General Arthur St. Clair and Governor of the Northwest Territory
Sauganash, and Caldwell Avenues Half-Potawatomi Chief Sauganash, also known as Billy Caldwell
Sheffield Avenue Subdivider Joseph Sheffield
Sheridan Road Philip Henry Sheridan, Civil War general
Southport Avenue Led to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which was formerly named Southport
State Street Originally State Road, its intersection with Madison Street marks the base point for Chicago's address system. North of the Chicago River, this was formerly called Wolcott.
Streeterville George "Cap" Streeter
Stony Island Avenue Leads to Stony Island, a ridge of land that appeared to be an island to pioneers
Taylor Street Zachary Taylor, twelfth President of the United States
Torrence Avenue Named for Civil War General Joseph T. Torrence. He led the Chicago militia during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.[39]
Touhy Avenue Named for local subdivider Patrick L. Touhy who was the son in law of Philip Rogers.[40]
Van Buren Street Martin Van Buren, eighth President of the United States
Vincennes Avenue Led to Fort Vincennes, Indiana
Wabash Avenue Wabash Railroad
Wacker Drive Charles H. Wacker, chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission, who pushed the idea of a double decked roadway along the Chicago River.
Warren Boulevard General Joseph Warren, American Revolutionary war patriot and doctor.
Washington Park George Washington, first President of the United States, formerly known as Western Division of South Park, also Park No. 21
Washington Street George Washington, first President of the United States
Wentworth Avenue Long John Wentworth, mayor
Wells Street William Wells, soldier
Western Avenue Was the western boundary of the city when the street was named.[41]
Wicker Park Named for Charles G. Wicker and Joel H. Wicker.[5]
Wolcott Avenue Dr. Alexander Wolcott, Jr. (1790-1830), first physician in Chicago, trader, served as Chicago's US Indian Agent from the late 1810s through the late 1820s. Until 1939, the road was Lincoln Street.
Wrigleyville Named for Wrigley Field, in turn named for William Wrigley, Jr..[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 1. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  2. ^ Andersonville Historic District Exhibit, Edgewater Historical Society, Spring, 2011.
  3. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  4. ^ "Ashburn thriving on a strong sense of community," Chicago Tribune, 11-19-2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Nick Greene, "How Chicago's Neighborhoods Got Their Names," Mental Floss
  6. ^ "Bridgeport Before the Canal," UIC.
  7. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 14. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  8. ^ http://www.earlychicago.com/encyclopedia.php?letter=c
  9. ^ Canaryville, Encyclopedia of Chicago
  10. ^ Swenson, John F. “Chicagoua/Chicago: The Origin, Meaning, and Etymology of a Place Name.” Illinois Historical Journal 84.4 (Winter 1991): 235–248
  11. ^ McCafferty, Michael. Disc: "Chicago" Etymology. LINGUIST list posting, December 21, 2001
  12. ^ McCafferty, Michael. A Fresh Look at the Place Name Chicago. Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 95.2 (Summer 2003)
  13. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  14. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 25. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  15. ^ http://www.gapersblock.com/airbags/archives/charles_cleaver_and_the_cottage_in_the_grove/
  16. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Loyola University Press. p. 32. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  17. ^ Dunning, Encyclopedia of Chicago
  18. ^ Dusable Park, Chicago Park District.
  19. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 37-8. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  20. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 48. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 57. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  25. ^ "Hyde Park Community Collection". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  26. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 61. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  27. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 62. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  28. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 64. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  29. ^ Alderman Seeks Landmark Status for Kosciuszko Park, DNAInfo Chicago.
  30. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 69. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  31. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 87. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  32. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 87. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  33. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 88. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  34. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 94. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  35. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 95. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  36. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 97. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  37. ^ About Ping Tom, Ping Tom Park
  38. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 105. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  39. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 124-5. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6. 
  40. ^ http://www.chsmedia.org/househistory/nameChanges/start.pdf
  41. ^ Hayner, Don; McNamee, Tom (1988). Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names. Chicago: Loyola University Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-8294-0597-6.