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What’s in a Name, Indy? Haughville, Part 5: Street Names in Haughville

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Several of the local streets in Haughville have names that memorialize individuals or families that once lived in the community. Some of these families operated large business operations in this neighborhood west of downtown Indianapolis. A few of the local streets have gone through name changes through the years.

Arnolda, as in Arnolda Avenue, is typically considered a name for a girl; the name is reported to be of Germanic origin related to the male name of “Arnold.” While “Arnolda” is also a surname, it is unlikely to be the source of the name of this street since there did not appear to be anyone with that surname in the Haughville area in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

This roadway was initially known as “Downing Avenue.” On March 4, 1913, The Indianapolis Star reported that “a petition was received by the [Indianapolis City] Council from residents of Downing Avenue, Haughville, to change the name of that thoroughfare from Downing Avenue to Arnolda Avenue to avoid confusing with Dowling Avenue.” The Indianapolis News had a similar news story on the same day, but instead of referencing confusion with “Dowling Avenue,” The Indianapolis News referred to confusion with “Downey Street and Downey Avenue.”

About six weeks later, on April 22, 1913, The Indianapolis Star reported that “a measure was passed [by the Indianapolis City Council] changing the name of Downing Avenue from Michigan to Tenth Streets to Arnolda Avenue.”

Belmont Avenue was named after the nearby community of Belmont. When incorporated as a distinct municipality, Belmont took on the name of “West Indianapolis.” The incorporation as a town took place in 1882; West Indianapolis became a city in 1894. Three years later, in 1897, the city of Indianapolis annexed the city of West Indianapolis.

It is not certain the origin of the name of Elder Avenue, though there were members of the Elder family living in the Indianapolis area in the late 1800s.

Goodlet Avenue was named after the Goodlet family. This family owned and subdivided land in the sections of Haughville. In a few cases, “Goodlet” was spelled as “Goodlett.”

A map from Baist Atlas from 1908 details that Goodlet & Thornton subdivided some of the ground between Belmont Avenue and Tremont Avenue, near 10th Street. The Goodlet King Avenue subdivision was near St. Clair Street, according to the same map, while the Goodlett and Scott subdivision included the land between St. Clair Street and 10th Street as well as King Avenue and Belleview Place.

Haugh Street — like Haughville overall — is generally considered to be named for the Haugh family and its business, Haugh & Co. Iron Works. Please note that a slightly different explanation of the source of the community’s name comes from a news article in The Indianapolis Star. That newspaper indicated that the community was named after three brothers: Emmanuel, Benjamin and Joseph Haugh.

Holmes Avenue was named after the Holmes family. This family was involved in real estate development of Haughville. The Indianapolis Journal included a note about the “Holmes’s West-End Addition to Indianapolis” in its edition dated Nov. 25, 1884. Multiple news articles noted similar transfers of real estate in this subdivision.

Ketcham Street was named after the Ketcham family, which was active in the economic development of Haughville. An advertisement in The Indianapolis News on July 14, 1881, indicated that Benjamin Haugh, William Brown, and John Ketcham had purchased Haugh & Co. Iron Works. The Haugh, Ketcham, and Company Iron Works was once one of the largest businesses operating in this community.

A section of Ketcham Street – between 10th Street and Walnut Street – was formerly known as “Wacker Avenue.” John Wacker was a real estate developer in Haughville. A news article in The Indianapolis Journal dated May 29, 1888, included details of sales by “John Wacker et al … in Wacker’s first Haughville subdivision.”

Based on the 1908 map from Baist Atlas, there were three “Wacker’s subdivisions” of the land between Ketcham Street and Holmes Avenue as well as between Walnut Street and St. Clair Street.

The Indianapolis News reported on Feb. 19, 1890, that “John Wacker, a property owner, is in favor of annexing [the Town of Haughville to the City of Indianapolis] because of Haughville’s non-protection from fire and thieves. He has lost enough money, he says, by the latter to pay his taxes for several years.”

The origin of the name for King Avenue is not certain, but it appears that it may been named in honor of the King family in Haughville. King Avenue was noted as early as Oct. 30, 1891, in a news article in The Indianapolis News. In the next year, on July 7, 1892, the same newspaper reported on John King being appointed as a trustee to the Haughville School Board.

Information about the names of additional local streets in Haughville will be detailed in Part Six.

Do you have questions about communities in Indianapolis? A street name? A landmark? Your questions may be used in a future news column. © 2022 Richard McDonough. Contact Richard McDonough at whatsinanameindy@usa.com.

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