Archive for Monday, December 2, 2013

100 years ago: Lawrence east-west streets change from names to numbers

December 2, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Dec. 2, 1913:

  • "Do you know where the corner of Vermont and Twenty-fourth street is? Perhaps you don't right now. And how about an Eighth street car? Never heard of it perhaps. No, not unless you attended the session of the city council last night. Perhaps your home was on Adams street when you went to sleep last night. This morning you woke up and found that during your slumbers your residence had been moved to Fourteenth street. You didn't notice any difference in your surroundings and your property seemed none the worse for the wear and tear incident to the moving process but nevertheless your mail no longer come to Adams street.... The City Council in its regular session last night took the action which has been agitated for a number of years in Lawrence when it passed the ordinance changing the names of all east and west streets in the city to numbers. The question has been under consideration a number of times in the past few years but each time encountered sufficient opposition to defeat it. However, this time sentiment seemed to have given way and the city fathers encountered no obstacles placed in their way by the public. One vote was registered against the ordinance when it was voted upon last night. Councilman A. L. Cox opposed the change, explaining that he did not deem it a wise move at this time. The ordinance carried by a vote of 9 to 1.... It was determined that the north and south streets in North Lawrence should also be changed to numbers. These streets are to be designated as First street North, beginning with Vermont street. Bridge street will be Second street North in the future. The east and west streets on that side of the river will retain their old names.... In making the changes the council also renamed a number of short streets to the south of the University hill giving them the same names as the streets on the north of which they are a continuation." [Full text of ordinance is available at]
  • "Common sense in the application of dietary rules is the best way to determine what to eat, according to Dr. Lafayette B. Mendel, professor of physiological chemistry in the Sheffield Scientific Institute, who spoke to the students of the University this morning on 'Food Fads.' Dr. Mendel decried all starvation 'cures,' two-meal-a-day plans of diet, vegetarianism and all the other 'tricks.' He said that every man should be a law unto himself and that this law should be reinforced by his own personal experiences.... There is nothing to the 'special foods for special tissue' idea according to Dr. Mendel. All this skin food, brain food and other special foods is nonsense, he says, It is absurd to think that celery, for instance, seeks out some corner in our mechanism and sets up a local throne."
  • "A NARROW ESCAPE -- Mrs. A. M. Werkenthin in Dangerous Gas Explosion at 916 Vermont. -- While cooking dinner on her gas range, upon opening the oven door a lot of gas burst into a sheet of flame with a loud report. The left side of Mrs. Werkenthin's face was singed including the ear, the left eyebrow was burned off, and the hair on the left side of her face singed. Her right sleeve caught fire and burned three or four inches of goods. Mr. Werkenthin heard the report and the cry of pain. He was able to extinguish the blaze on her sleeve with his hands before the arm was badly burned. He also smothered the smoke out of her hair and applied restoratives. Mrs. Werkenthin will be compelled to remain indoors for a few days, but is doing well."


Clint Church 1 year, 12 months ago

Does anyone know why they thought they needed to change the street names?

Sarah St. John 1 year, 12 months ago

Hi Clint! From what I can recall, the change was discussed for quite a long time before it finally happened. Those against it said that they wanted to continue to honor the memory of the men for whom the streets were originally named; those in favor felt that those names had been adequate in the early days when Lawrence was smaller, but now (1913) when Lawrence was larger, busier, and receiving many more visitors, it would make sense to number at least the east-west streets so that newcomers could more easily find their way around.

I suppose it must have helped to some degree. When you're on Eighth Street and you have to go to 14th, at least you know which direction you need to go. I do remember, however, when I first moved to Lawrence, I was a little confused at first that the streets with numbers went east-west except when you crossed the bridge into North Lawrence, and then they ran north-south.

Thanks for reading and commenting!!

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