The Grand Avenues

Springfield’s four Grand Avenues — North Grand, South Grand, East Grand and West Grand — made their first appearance in Springfield city directories in 1866. (South Grand Avenue existed earlier, under the name “Township Avenue.”)

West Grand Avenue was renamed MacArthur Boulevard, honoring Gen. Douglas MacArthur, in 1942. As the city grew, East Grand Avenue became 19th Street on the north side and 18th Street on the south; 18th Street was named Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in 1984.

The four streets were designed to be equidistant — about 10 blocks in every direction — from the city center. When created, they also represented the city limits of Springfield.

Source: Sangamon Valley Collection, Lincoln Librarybridge

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