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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

What’s In A Name, Indy?Street Names In Brightwood – Part One

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Many of the streets in Brightwood in Indianapolis have names today that are different from their original names. This column highlights a few of these specific streets. The background history of additional street names in Brightwood and throughout Indianapolis will be explored in future editions of What’s In A Name, Indy? 

Today’s 30th Street had at least two previous names. Within the main part of Brightwood, this roadway was known as Schofield Street. Within Martindale, the roadway was known as Manchester Street. According to a map provided through the Library of Congress, D. B. Schofield owned 160 acres of land south of this roadway in 1866. 

Brinkman Street was the original name for the street now known as 25th Street in Brightwood. A map from 1866, provided through the Library of Congress, indicated that C. Brinkman owned 80 acres of land north of this roadway at that time. The map also indicated that C. Brinkman also owned a nearby tract of land with 54½ acres. 

Willow Street was the original name for what is now known as 28th Street in Brightwood. The street took its name from the Willow Tree. There are a wide variety of willow trees, ranging from the Weeping Willow to the Peachleaf Willow. “Willows have an extremely long history for medicinal uses, being used to treat fevers, aches, skin conditions, and headaches, and as an anti-clotting agent,” according to a statement from the Missouri Department of Conservation. “The basic ingredient of aspirin, salicylic acid, originally came from willow bark (the chemical name comes from ‘salix,’ the Latin word for ‘willow’). In the middle 1800s, scientists first synthesized acetylsalicylic acid, a biochemical derivative of salicylic acid. Then, a few years before 1900, the German company Bayer developed this compound as a commercial pain reliever, naming it ‘aspirin,’ which was the world’s first mass-marketed drug. It remains one of the most-used medicines in the world.” 

The roadway now known as Denny Street was formerly named Foundry Street. That name came from the rail works — a foundry — that was previously located at the intersection of today’s Sherman Drive and 26th Street. 

The numbered streets mentioned here — 25th, 26th, 28th and 30th Streets — get their names from being the 25th, 26th, 28th and 30th roadways, respectively, north of Washington Street. (These definitions depend on which roadways you count as you go north from Washington Street. In some areas, there are less than 25 blocks between Washington Street and 25th Street; in some areas, there are more than 25 blocks between the two roadways.) 

Station Street is one of the roadways in Brightwood that has retained its original name. The street was named after the rail station that was previously located where Station Street intersects with today’s Roosevelt Avenue. The photo of the train at the top of this column highlights the connection of Brightwood to the rail lines that operate today as well as to the train operations that began in Brightwood in the late 1800s. At that time, passengers could travel by train from the Brightwood Station to various locales in the United States. For many decades, several blocks of Station Street served as the commercial center of Brightwood. 

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

The willow tree was the source for the name for the former Willow Street in Brightwood. (Photo courtesy of daledbet through Pixabay, September 2, 2020.) 

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