One might think that names chosen for streets would remain the same indefinitely unless the name causes confusion or the street was physically removed. Both circumstances have occurred over the years in Springfield.
While the city of Springfield generally discouraged duplicate names, many streets in now-defunct suburbs such as North Springfield, East Springfield, South Springfield, West Springfield, the Village of Laurel and the Village of Ridgely had street names identical to some in Springfield.
Some duplicates included Allen Avenue and Allen Street, two Cleveland Avenues, two Converse Avenues, Douglas Avenue and Douglas Street, three Elm Streets and Elm Avenue, three Grant Streets, two Hickory Streets and Hickory Avenue, Lincoln Avenue and Lincoln Street, two Maple Avenues and Maple Street, two Park Avenues and two Park Streets, two Pine Streets, Sangamon Avenue and Sangamon Street. The names of most of those streets were changed after the smaller areas were annexed to Springfield.
However, many other proposed name changes have not been adopted. South Grand Avenue, for instance, has survived two attempts to rename it: to Lincoln Boulevard in March 1908 and to Cullom Boulevard (after governor and U.S. senator Shelby Cullom) in May 1916. Adams Street was proposed to be renamed Main Street in 1902.
The following street names have been changed:
18th Street renamed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in 1984.
26th Street renamed Christmas Seal Drive in 1979.
31st Street renamed Dirksen Parkway in 1974.
A Street was first renamed Park Avenue and finally Ridgely Avenue.
Allen Avenue renamed McClernand Avenue in 1902.
Askins Street is now a drive leading into an SIU School of Medicine parking lot.
Athens Road is now a continuation of North Third Street.
B Street was renamed Wood Avenue.
Baker Street was renamed Amos Avenue.
Beardstown Hard Road (Beardstown Road) was renamed West Jefferson Street.
Benzer Lane was renamed a continuation of South Grand Avenue East.
Bottlers Alley from Fifth to Sixth streets between Washington and Jefferson Streets is now an unnamed alley.
C Street was renamed Garfield Avenue.
Cancer Street was renamed East Miller Street.
Cantrall Street, a continuation of Franklin Avenue, is now part of Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Charles Street from Second Street to Spring Street is now part of the state Capitol grounds.
Chestnut Avenue Washington Street to Moffat Avenue was renamed North 16th Street in 1908.
Christy Street from Moffatt Avenue to Matheny Street was renamed North 15th Street.
Cleveland Avenue was renamed Griffiths Avenue in 1908.
Commercial Alley from Fifth Street to Sixth Street between Adams and Monroe streets is now an unnamed alley.
Concordia College Court became part of the Concordia College grounds.
Connelly Avenue was renamed North Walnut Street.
Converse Avenue from Ash Street south to Clark Street was renamed Eastdale Avenue.
Cottage Street, just south of Jefferson Street from 14th Street to 15th Street, is now gone.
Cox Street from Madison Street to Miller Street was renamed Logan Avenue in 1902.
Crowder Avenue from Stevenson Drive to Bruce Street was renamed 12th Street.
D Street was renamed Cleveland Avenue and finally Griffiths Avenue in 1908.
Devereux Lane from the end of Water Works Road east was renamed Catalina Lane
Douglas Street from Sixth to Eighth streets and 10th to 12th streets was renamed Lawrence Avenue in 1898.
Doyle Avenue from West Washington Street south was renamed Glenwood Avenue in 1896.
Dresser Street was renamed State Street.
Drexel Avenue from North First Street to Fifth Street is now gone.
East Grand Avenue was renamed 19th Street in 1908.
Ellendale from 2300 Lindbergh Boulevard north to a cul-de-sac and south to Austin Drive was renamed Edgewood Drive.
Elm Street from Fifth to Eighth streets was renamed Enterprise Street in 1902.
Elm Street from 11th to 14th streets was renamed Bruce Street in 1957.
Elward Avenue from Bruce Street south to Stevenson Drive was renamed 14th Street.
Fairfax Avenue from First to Fifth streets is now gone.
Frank Street from Laurel Street to South Street was renamed 14th Street in 1911.
Gehlman Street from South Grand Avenue to Laurel Street was renamed MacArthur Boulevard.
Gemini Street from Fifth Street east to city limits was renamed Carpenter Street.
Grand Boulevard was renamed MacArthur Boulevard in 1942.
Grant from St. Francis Street east to dead end was renamed Celeste Court.
Grant Street from Chatham Road west was renamed Cardinal Drive in 1952
Hickory Street from South Sixth to Eighth streets is now gone.
Hickox Avenue from Washington Street to Moffat Avenue was renamed 17th Street in 1908.
High Street from Pasfield Street west to the city limits was renamed Lawrence Avenue in 1898.
Horner Highway, running north from North Grand Avenue, formerly was a continuation of North Walnut Street Road. It is now J. David Jones Parkway.
Illmorland Street was renamed Illmo Street in 1999.
Interstate Court was renamed Wide Track Drive in 1967.
Jacksonville Avenue from College Street to West Grand Avenue (now MacArthur Boulevard) was renamed Lawrence Avenue.
Jacksonville Road from College Street west to the city limits was renamed High Street in February 1865. High was later changed to Lawrence Avenue.
James Lane was renamed Hyde Park Place
John Street was renamed Parker Avenue in 1911.
Keady Avenue from Linn Street to Elm street was renamed 13th Street.
Ledlie Avenue was renamed Illinois Street.
Lee Street from South Grand Avenue to Laurel Street was renamed 13th Street.
Lincoln Street from Eighth Street to East Grand Avenue was renamed Phillips Street in 1902.
Linn Street from was renamed Stevenson Drive in 1966.
Locust Street was renamed Outer Park Drive.
Long Street from Amos Avenue west is now gone.
Lorenz Street from North Grand Avenue to Oak Ridge Avenue was renamed Rutledge Street.
Maple Street from 11th Street to the Wabash Railroad right-of-way was renamed Cornell Avenue in 1912.
Maple Street from South MacArthur Boulevard west was renamed Cherry Road.
Market Street was renamed Capitol Avenue in 1877.
Mather Street north of Jefferson Street between Douglas and Lincoln avenues is now gone.
Melvin Street was renamed Yates Avenue.
Middle Street was renamed 13th Street in 1914. It existed between two existing portions of 13th Street.
Mill Street and Mill South were renamed College Street in 1902.
Nebraska Street was renamed Clay Street.
Nudo Lane was renamed Richards Lane.
O’Donald Street from Division Street to North Grand Avenue was renamed 13th Street.
O’Donnell Street from Division Street to North Grand Avenue was renamed 14th Street.
Oakland Avenue was renamed Fayette Avenue.
Park Avenue was renamed Ridgely Avenue.
Pierce Street from Laurel Street to Oak Street was renamed Second Street.
Pine Street from First to Third streets was renamed Calhoun Avenue in 1902.
Post Office Court from Sixth to Seventh streets is now an unnamed alley.
Reisch Street from Elliott Avenue to North Grand Avenue was renamed Franklin Street.
Reval Street from Cook Street to South Grand Avenue was renamed Pasfield Street in 1896.
Richey Court from 2801 Rochester Road north is now a private driveway.
Ridge Road was renamed Ridge Avenue.
Sangamon Street from Fifth to Sixth streets was renamed Sangamo Alley.
Smith Street from Edwards Street to Monroe Street was renamed Park Avenue..
Starne Street from Lincoln Avenue to Illinois Street was renamed Cook Street in 1902.
West Grand Avenue was renamed MacArthur Boulevard on March 16, 1942 for General Douglas MacArthur.
Wilson Avenue from Stevenson Drive to Bruce Street was renamed South 14th Street.
Wright Street from Pasfield to Fifth streets was renamed Lawrence Avenue in 1898.
In addition, all or parts of the following streets were renamed or eliminated over the years, but records are unclear about their current names and status:
- Airport Road North, Allen Place, Belt Line, Burt Street, C&A Court, Chestnut Street, Clark Street, Concord Court, Convent Alley, Cook Street Road, Craig Court, Delia, Devereux Heights, Elm Street, Elmwood.
- Fairground Avenue, Fox Road, Grand Place, Grissom Road, Hacke Road, Hickory Avenue, Howard Street, Karl Lane, Kull Road, Lincoln Park Drive, Mill Row, Milner Avenue, Nill Street.
- O’Connor Street, Oak Hill Street, Old Carriage Way, Park Drive, Putnam Street, Stand Avenue, Starnes Row, Wabash Alley, Ward Avenue.
Original content copyright Sangamon County Historical Society. You are free to republish this content as long as credit is given to the Society.
There used to be an Askins Street over by Memorial Hospital. It’s now the drive into the Baylis Building. There were several houses along Askins.
Disregard. I’d swear I didn’t see it up there, but there it is. Sorry!
Springfield is the only large city I know of that does not have (or ever did have) a Main Street. Any comments on this?
Gary: City fathers were more imaginative? Actually, Spfld started out using numerals and president’s names and just stuck with that system in the center-city area where “Main Street” would have made sense. And which street would they have picked anyway?
There is a road called Main Street in the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
Why was 31st street changed to Dirksen Parkway?
Ms. Brown: Dirksen Parkway is named after the late U.S. Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen, who was the Republican Party leader in the Senate from 1959 until his death in 1969. State Rep. J. David Jones of Springfield persuaded the city council to change the name of 31st Street in 1974. The official renaming ceremony took place on June 12, 1974. Thanks for the question, and thanks for reading.
Bates Ave. Is a dead end at the south end. Did Bates Ave. Ever extend farther south in the past? Possibly a brick road south of the dead end?
Does anyone know when Mill Row renamed to 14th street? And does anyone know why?
Keaton: In the 19th century, Mill Row was part of an independent village, Ridgely, which was incorporated into the city of Springfield in 1907. The name referred to the old Rolling Mill (you can read about that here; many of those who lived on Mill Row would have worked at the Rolling Mill. The name remained after Ridgely became part of Springfield. The old newspapers I checked show the name “Mill Row” was in common use through at least 1926. I couldn’t find any story reporting the official name change, but based on the newspaper reports, it looks like that took place in 1927 or 1928. I assume the reason was because Mill Row lined up with 14th Street, and city officials wanted to keep the street names consistent.
There used to be a small street in Leland Grove that was closed off where Laurel turns to the north before continuing east. Was it Ruth CT. or Ruth Pl.? Is it still accessible from the east off of Illini Rd.?
Ruth Place runs between Wiggins and Illini and yes, it’s still open at Illini.
However, there is a Ruth Avenue between Glenwood and MacArthur south of Jefferson.