Shoe Column: Stevens Point Streets; It’s All in the Name
By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
Stevens Point, Wisconsin, has a lot of streets. And lanes and avenues. Small streets. Long streets. Winding Streets. Streets on hills.
Several of Point’s streets were named after former Point mayors. A.G. Ellis…G.L.Park…M. Wadleigh…Owen Clark…S.E.Karner…George Rogers…N. Welsby…G.F.Clayton…all past mayors. Ellis Street, Park St., Wadleigh St., Clark Street, Karner St., Rogers St., Welsby St., Clayton St. Note the connection?
When the street namers ran out of mayors, they tried numbers. They came up with 1st Street, 2nd Street and 3rd Street. Then they got fancy and added 4th Avenue, 5th Avenue, and 6th Avenue. Never could quite figure out why one would be a street and another would be an avenue.
Trees got a lot of play when it came to naming Point streets. There’s Oak Street, Elm St., Pine Street, Birch Street, Spruce Street, Willow St. and Cedar Street. For a little variety, they threw in Maple Bluff. And Wintergreen Drive. Oh wait … that one’s in Rapids. And we can’t forget Pine Cone Lane.
States came up big, too, in the Street Name Game. There’s a Wisconsin Street and a Wisconsin Avenue, I believe. Then we have Indiana Avenue, Illinois Avenue, Michigan Avenue, Minnesota Avenue, Texas Avenue, Vermont Avenue, California Avenue, and I don’t know how this got in there, but Virginia Drive. I don’t believe any Point streets are named after Iowa.
Some street names simply make common sense. The Stevens Point Country Club is indeed on Country Club Drive. Division Street does divide the city, and Center Street goes right down the middle. And Water Street runs right along the Wisconsin River.
A couple of our streets share the names of our neighbors. Plover is bigger than Whiting, although Whiting Avenue is bigger than Plover Street.
Not sure if we have a bear street or a deer street, but we do have an Elk.
Virginia Drive still bothers me. How come all of the “state” streets are avenues except Virginia?
I have no idea who Fremont, Frontenac, Brawley, Bukolt, and Algoma were, and what’s a Soo Marie or a Tamarac?
Politics and history are entrenched in Stevens Point lore when it comes to our fine trails and roads. If you’re looking for historic figures, you might try Franklin Street or Lindbergh Avenue. Got a favorite president? We have Polk Street, Jefferson St., Washington Avenue, Kennedy Drive, Madison Street, Monroe Street, Lincoln Avenue, Jackson Street, Grant Street, Cleveland Avenue, and Hoover Road.
There is no Nixon Street but we do have a Dixon.
Not positive, but I think there was a Beer Street by the Brewery.
A John’s Drive? Yes. A Jones Street? No. A Smith Street? For sure. The sign by the post office used to read “Smiht” Street.
And who was Stanley Street named after? Lord Stanley of hockey fame? Stan Musial? Stanley Downs?
When you really think about it, who names these streets anyways? Like Virginia Drive? What’s up with that? I find that strange. That’s a strange street.
Oops, almost forgot. Point has a Strange Street too.
Editor’s note: Though it shares the Stevens Point zip code, Strange St. is technically located in Whiting.