Name That Street

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Description

Street names are a great way to learn about local history. What on earth is a Baseline? Why is Rural Road in the middle of a city? What do McClintock and Greenway have in common? Was there really a Bethany Home ? Indian School? Alma School? How did the name Thunderbird take flight? Arizona Stories also travels to Carefree, where the street names set the tone for a lifestyle like no other.

Transcript

Narrator:
In the Valley, street names vary from presidential...to practical, from numerical to whimsical.

John Akers:
Street names are really a great way for learning about local history. Street names also give identity to places. Someone says, you know, " Phoenix doesn't have a history, it's a really young place, its history doesn't compare to other regions," but the name "Baseline" really has a connection to American history. In 1787, Thomas Jefferson set up this system for doing surveying:
when there's a territory, you mark the land, you identify it, and then you open it up for the public to come and settle on it, and this is what we see in Arizona .

Vince Murray:
It's actually known as the "Gila and Salt River Baseline and Meridian System,” which starts at the top of a little hill outside of Phoenix International Raceway, basically where Avondale Boulevard -- which was 115th Avenue – and Baseline Road intersect.

Narrator:
This spot was first chosen in 1851 to mark the then-border of the United States and Mexico . It would later become the Baseline that determined all land surveys in Arizona .


John Akers:
So they laid down a baseline dividing Arizona north and south, and this is the starting line as they started to cut up and create, really, these six-mile blocks which they then divided into single-mile blocks.

Vince Murray:
For a homeowner, your legal description is based on that.

John Akers:
Everybody who has a deed or something, if you go on, you look at your description, it has "one north, range two east." Well, "one north" is one north of Baseline Road .

Vince Murray:
And that's what all of our major streets are based on as well, following along with the same section lines.

John Akers:
And the section lines later on became where you put the laterals, the ditches that brought water south down from the canals. And then the other lines became our big streets, the – you know, the ones that run east and west; people can settle on the land in between.

Narrator:
One of those early settlers was a farmer who worked the land along lateral three, which was renamed Hayden Road in the 1940s.

John Akers:
Well, it's a common thought that the Hayden is named for Charles Trumbull Hayden and his son, Carl Hayden, who was a longtime U.S. Senator. Not named for them. It's named for Wilford Hayden, who was actually – homesteaded land in Scottsdale . They were one of the first people out in the area, and Hayden Road 's named for Wilford Hayden.

Narrator:
There is no shortage of streets named for the more famous Hayden family of Tempe . Known for establishing the first ferry and flour mill along the Salt River , the Haydens would eventually have streets named in their honor, Mill Avenue being one of them. Another is a small street in Tempe called Don Carlos.

John Akers:
Don Carlos was a nickname that a lot of Hayden's Hispanic workers or employees would give to him, call him "Don Carlos."

Narrator:
One of the more frustrating experiences for a valley driver is a street that changes its name as you're traveling on it. As separate towns grew into each other, neither wanted to give up their identity. That's why Scottsdale 's Hayden is Tempe 's McClintock.

Jean Reynolds:
James McClintock was a native of California , and he came to Arizona in the 1870s, and he originally started out working for The Herald , which was one of the early newspapers. He enrolled at the Territorial Normal School , which is now of course ASU, and he was a member of the first graduating class.

Narrator:
McClintock would go on to ride with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War. But you didn't have to be a soldier to get a street named after you in the Valley. Take the case of Chandler boxer Zora " Bell " Folley.

Jean Reynolds:
In 1967, he was rated as the number-one contender for the heavyweight title. He was slated to come up against Cassius Clay, also known as Muhammad Ali, and so he went off to Madison Square Garden , and of course, he was defeated by Muhammad Ali, unfortunately. But he still came back and was well-received by the community. The town came together; they had a big celebration for him because he was kind of the hometown hero. They actually renamed the street that went by his house as Folley Street . And in 1972, he was appointed to the city council, which made him the first African American city councilman in Chandler .

Narrator:
Streets are also named after places that were an important part of our history. Bethany Home Road was the way to the Bethany Home , a tuberculosis sanitarium in the early 1900s. Thunderbird Road led to Thunderbird Airfield I, a private training facility for World War II pilots. In the case of Rural Road in Tempe , the street took on the name of the school.

Jean Reynolds:
The school was founded to serve children who were living in the rural area, which was south of Tempe at that time, and they were coming from the farming families that were living in the area as well as the children in Guadalupe.

John Akers:
And this was common. Alma School in Mesa is another example of a road being named after another school.

Vince Murray:
You did have a federal Indian school located up on Central Avenue and what is Indian School Road . The students who attended there were literally forced to learn English. The idea was is that in order to save the man, you would have to remove any of their original traditional tendencies and to retrain them so that they would fit into American society. And the school was operational for some time. I think it closed down in the late '80s.

Narrator:
It seems every city has its Broadway, most honoring New York 's Great White Way . But in the Valley, Broadway Road is named for Noah Broadway, who was sheriff of Maricopa County in the 1890s. Broadway was also a prominent canal builder and farmer. In fact, more Valley streets are named after farmers than anything else.

Vince Murray:
Like Broadway or Osborn or Thomas.

Jean Reynolds:
The Dobson family, that's Dobson Road . Knox Road , Willis Road , Riggs Road .

Vince Murray:
Or they were named arbitrarily by whoever created the subdivision.

John Akers:
Tom Darlington and K.T. Palmer were some developers in the Carefree area in the Mid-1950s, about 1955. Darlington and his partner did choose the street names. They wanted to be able to preserve kind of that western tourist ideal, and they even put street names like Ho and Hum -- You know, "ho-hum.” And actually, there's a Tom Darlington Street in Carefree as well, so that recognizes one of their founders.

Narrator:
In the Valley, street names are everyday reminders of our history. They are named after people, places, other cities and states, and even states of mind.