Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lost Street Names of Old Town Longmont

Two vintage Longmont survey maps from the 1920 and 1932 interestingly show a number of street names that are gone today, in the then-western part of town.  The maps are available here, available in PDF format.   It's difficult to believe now but this section of town was served by "rural" mail routes in 1920 vs. traditional city routes in town. I'm just guessing (a street engineer is welcome to confirm!) that as streets were brought into Longmont via annexations that they were eventually aligned with existing streets. In the case of where street names collided, the older existing name won.  Street name consistency got more important with automobile travel, where drivers would prefer that the street name not change simply when crossing blocks. Some of the streets appear to have been just outright renamed, and these are mysteries to be pursued further.

  1.  Charlotte Street is known as Sunset Street today, as it borders Sunset golf course to the west.   We can only guess that Charlotte was the name of the wife, daughter, or mother of an early land owner to the west of Longmont.  It is likely that the establishment of Sunset Park (a golf course, camp ground, and swimming pool) edged out Charlotte's name in favor of Sunset Drive by the time that the 1932 map was published.  Charlotte NC surprisingly has a Longmont Drive but our Charlotte Street is gone.

  2. Fedora Avenue is my favorite of the vanished street names, and in 1920 ran east-west between Charlotte (Sunset) to the west and Bowen to the east.   You can see it marked with an oval in the map above.   The 1932 update still shows Fedora Avenue but only between Charlotte and Francis.  Eventually Fedora Avenue was gobbled by Sixth Avenue but as you know today, Sixth does not run straight east-west through this area of town; it has a little bump on north-south Francis (see map below):

    Here is the intersection of Sixth (was Fedora) and Francis looking east.  See the smaller house in the middle?  This is where Fedora used to run through, according to the 1920 map.
    Sixth Avenue and Francis Street
    Looking east down the length of Fedora (now Sixth) Avenue

    This would have been Charlotte and Fedora in 1920

  3. Jefferson Avenue is the most baffling of the extinct street names, today known as Spruce Avenue.  You can see it on the 1920 map below where it runs between Charlotte (Sunset) to the west and Bowen to the east.  There doesn't appear to have been an existing Spruce Avenue and there were some other presidential street names nearby, Grant and Lincoln.  Why would a street, likely named for our third President,  get renamed to a tree?

    On Jefferson (now Spruce) Avenue, looking east with a tall Blue Spruce appropriately on the left.  Bohn Farm is to the right.

    Where Bowen Street meets Jefferson (now Spruce) Avenue

    A remnant of Jefferson Avenue does exist on the west side of Sunset, so it actually survives today although in a much smaller form.

  4. Petit, Kent, Grace, and Wilcox StreetsThese are all street names (see above) in today's "Bohn Farm Neighborhood" that have disappeared from the maps.  Kent was one of the names on the annexation (Kent and Davis) to Longmont but he lost his chance at immortality to the existing established Longmont north-south streets, like Grant, Judson, and Francis which all carry below Spruce Avenue today:
    Today's View of the Kent-Davis Annexation, known as the Bohn Farm Neighborhood
The Bohn Dairy Farm was built on the former D. C. Donovan Brickyard which you can see on the 1920 map snippet above.  The City has a great description of the Bohn's Farm neighborhood including the mentioning of the vanished street names and the Kent-Davis addition to the city which appears to have been formed in the mid 1890's.  It is unclear if houses were ever built on these four streets.

The Bohn Farm land today, looking south from Spruce Avenue:



maite said...

very, very interesting!!

lalapapawawa said...

Have you seen this document?

The interesting but short history of North Longmont, Longmont's alcholic cousin residing around Main St & 9th, begins on p.13.

Peter said...

Thanks for the link, Laura -- I had not seen that before. I did a writeup on North Longmont a few years ago and in looking at the newspapers from that time, it seems like there were brawls and disturbances being reported every week from that part of town!