Opinion

Street Names Edition, Part I:

1. Local street names were picked by housing developers, though local governments had final approval. Examples of streets named for the developer of a housing colony, or the builder, broker, architect or attorney who worked with the developer on the project: (Thomas) De Chiaro Lane; Herbert (Sadkin) Drive; Howard (Burkland) Avenue; Leonard (Schwartz) Circle; (Louis) Lipton Lane; Morris (Sosnow) Drive; William (Chatlos) Street.

2. Examples of streets named for families who owned land in or just outside the school district prior to the Second World War, including some of the area's last farming families: Campbell Avenue; Collins Avenue; Cornwell Avenue; Cushing Avenue; Rhodes Drive; Schumacher Drive; Stoothoff Drive; Wicks Road.

3. Streets in Phases I, II and III of William Moffit's Nassau Heights development, and his adjacent Albertson Square development, take their names from military and political figures during the 1898 Spanish-American War and the subsequent war in the Phillippines. These names would have been familiar and patriotically attractive to potential lot buyers of the early 1900s. Examples: (Ensign Worth) Bagley Avenue; (Gen. Adna) Chaffee Avenue; (Admiral George) Dewey Avenue; (Capt. Robley) Evans Avenue; (Sgt. Hamilton) Fish Avenue; (Col. Frederick) Funston Avenue; (Col. Frederick) Grant Avenue; (Gen. Robert) Hughes Place; (Consul-General Fitzhugh) Lee Avenue; (Pres. William) McKinley Avenue; (Gen. Nelson) Miles Avenue; (Admiral William) Sampson Avenue; (Battle of) San Juan Avenue; (Commodore Winfield) Schley Avenue; (Gen. William) Shafter Avenue; (Capt. Charles) Sigsbee Avenue; (Governor-General William H.) Taft Place; (Gen. Joseph) Wheeler Avenue; (Col. Leonard) Wood Avenue. Some of the references are less clear today and require best guesses. Walker Avenue may refer to Lieutenant and future Major-General Kenzie Walker, cited for gallantry at the Battle of San Juan Hill. Stevens Avenue may be named for diplomat John L. Stevens, U.S. Minister to Hawaii. McAlpine Avenue could refer to Gen. Edwin A. McAlpine, business leader and commander of the N.Y. National Guard in the 1890s. Many today might suppose that Grant and Lee Avenues are named for the famous Civil War figures, but they actually refer to close relatives. Fred Grant was President U.S. Grant's grandson, a former ambassador who led a regiment in Cuba and later a brigade in the Phillippines. General Fitzhugh Lee was Robert E. Lee's nephew and military governor in Havana.

4. The names of some streets have been changed, though the original designation is still found in the deeds and property records of many existing houses. For example, Stratford North and Stratford South were originally Marcilee Drive North and Marcilee Drive South; Tuxedo Avenue was for many years called Stewart Avenue. The last vestige of Manhasset Avenue has been redesignated as Old Searingtown Road on signs and maps.


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