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  • Melody Lager

Clarion Streets Renamed - 1925

Clarion, Iowa – August 1925: The US Postal service has announced free delivery of mail. To comply with their regulations, our streets must be renamed, and our blocks uniform in numbering. The numbering begins with 100 on each block. Main Street will now be Central Avenue, Lake Street is now our Main street. These two streets mark the beginning of new numbers, with “Streets” running north and south, and “Avenues” being east and west.

When researching Clarion’s history, it can be quite confusing when streets are listed with names instead of the familiar numbers we have now! Our streets were originally named after land owners, such as Rowen for “Uncle John Rowen’, Davis for “Uncle Lem Davis” and Culver for “Lidge” Culver. There was also a Bates, Johnson, and Ladd, also names after locals.

Lake Street was so named as at the north end was a lake/pond. In the late 1800’s it was large enough to allow duck hunting, fishing, and winter skating. Broadway Street was in Eastman’s addition, northwest of the main town where the railroad was located (now about 2nd Ave and 3rd ST NW). Mr. Eastman’s addition also included Bank, Genese and Mansion streets. He was hoping the Iowa Pacific railroad depot would be located in this section of land, bringing downtown stores with it, but a financial panic stopped those plans.

The Walnut Grove addition (out by the Heartland Museum) had Tracy street, named after a landowner, and railroad presidents were honored with Ives and Stickney. There was also a Division and Dodge street.

Then there were four streets named after women: Pear for Pearl Stark; Myrtle for Myrtle Gates, Olive for Olive Butler and Vinnie for Vinnie Tyrell. There was also a Hattie, but the lady it was named for has not been found.

Like many towns in rural Iowa, our streets were dirt – or mud – depending on the weather. Sidewalks made of lumber helped shoppers get around. Posts were available to tie up your horse or team, and several watering fountains were around also for your horses.

Below is a listing of what the streets were called prior to 1925.

From West to east, running north and south our current streets were:


West (2nd St NW & SW or County K)

Maple (1st)

Lake (Current Main St.)

Wall (1st N)

East (2)

Walter (3)

Culver (4)

Hattie (5)

Vinnie (6)

Davis (7)

Johnson (8)

Bates (9)

Ladd (10)

Rowen (11)

And from north to south, running east and west, our Avenues were:

Myrtle (8th Ave NE and NW now)

Milburn (7)

Forest (6)

Prairie (5)

North (4)

Elm (3)

Olive (2)

Clark (1)

Main (now Central Ave)

Jay (1 S)

Railroad (2)

Ives (3)

(Some information courtesy of Wright Country Monitor)

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