The Origins of Some Madison, Wisconsin, Street Names
By Burr Angle, Dolores Kester, and Ann Waidelich
Copyright © Burr Angle 2010
Please credit the source if you use this resource - thank you!
Part II - The Origins of Some Northside Madison, Wisconsin, Street Names: More Street Name Facts
Green Avenue, Sauthoff Road – About 300 acres of land between Lake Mendota and Northport Drive have been the site of several state hospitals and other state facilities for the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and delinquent since the 1860s. In the early days many employees lived within walking distance of the State Lunatic Asylum, whose location was chosen to combine natural beauty with a healthy environment.
The Chicago and North Western Railway built a station at Mendota Post Office in the mid 1870s and by 1927 Mendota Village had a population of about 750.
Green Avenue is named for Doctor M. K. Green who started at what is now Mendota Mental Health Institute in 1901 and who was hospital superintendent from 1924 until 1948.
Sauthoff Road honors August Sauthoff or Mary Sauthoff, or both. In 1911 August was second assistant physician and Mary was women’s physician. August became the clinical director and assistant superintendent. August and M. K. Green both retired on January 31, 1948.
Harbort Drive, Messerschmidt Road – The Harborts and Messerschmidts were early settlers whose family graves are in the cemetery behind the chapel at Lakeview Lutheran Church, which was originally a German Lutheran church.
Harper Road – is probably named for Dr. C. A. Harper who was Secretary of the Wisconsin State Board of Health in 1923 and a director of the Joseph M. Boyd Company, an investment and real estate firm, from its beginnings about 1908 until its liquidation in 1932.
Camino del Sol – The photo caption for March 2008 on the “Northside History” calendar states that this street is named for Sol Levin, head of the Madison Area Community Land Trust.
Northland Drive – In 1959, new 3-bedroom ranch houses in the Northland Park subdivision were being sold for $13,500 to $16,500. Harvey Malofsky was superintendent of the Northland Manor Development Corp. whose offices were at 1920 Fordem Avenue, now the site of New Orleans Take-Out restaurant.
Nobel Lane – is part of Nobel Park developed by the Nobel Realty Co. In 1955 David S. Novick was President, Edmond S. Luzoff vice-president, and Joseph P. Becker, secretary-treasurer.
Loeprich Lane – is named for Henry Loeprich, owner of the land where the lane is located.
Lillian Drive – extends for one block between Vahlen Avenue and Melrose Street. Lillian M. Rafferty was the wife of William L. Rafferty, 2009 Vahlen Avenue, who developed a small tract in this area during the late 1940s. Lillian may be the first Northside street named for a developer’s wife.
Talisman Lane – A talisman is an object with magical powers used as a charm. Talisman Lane is in an area developed by the Bruns’ and probably has a secret meaning to someone in the family.
Veith Avenue – The 1911 Dane County Plat Book shows that Elizabeth Veith and the Estate of Mary Veith owned land west of Mendota State Hospital in sections 26 and 27.
Esch Lane, McGuire Street, Barnett Street – Don Kreul believes that Esch Lane is named for John H. Esch, an attorney and leader in Boy Scout Troop 27. In 1947 John Esch lived in Lakeview Heights. Don also thinks that McGuire Street is named for Raymond T. McGuire, owner of the Simpson Garment Co., a women’s ready-to-wear shop at 23-25 North Pinckney and a Maple Bluff resident at 33 Cambridge Road. Also, Don believes Barnett is named for Ensign H. Barnett (Ensign is his first name, not a rank) who lived at 810 Northport Drive and who was a supply officer at the United States Armed Forces Institute that taught correspondence courses for the U.S. military. The 1956 Madison City Directory says that USAFI (you-saff-ee) had 200,000 students, a staff of 288, and was managed by the UW Extension.
Coleman Road – A man named J. Coleman owned land near this street. Thomas E. Coleman, 735 Farwell Drive, was president of Madison-Kipp Corp., and several other Colemans were also company officers.
Novick Drive, Becker Drive – These streets parallel each other near Forster Drive. In 1956 David S. Novick was president and Joseph P. Becker was secretary-treasurer of the Novick Realty Co., 510 Gay Building.
Luster Avenue – In 1956 James O. Luster was a supervisor at Mendota State Hospital and lived at 3525 Harper Road. In 1957 he lived at 417 Luster Avenue.
Northfield Place, Superior Street, Erie Court, Michigan Court – The Northfield Park subdivision is one block east of North Sherman and south of Commercial and has Northfield Place, Superior Street, Erie Court, and Michigan Court.
Melby Drive – Marshall T. Melby owned the M. T. Melby real estate agency in 1957.
Graedel Court – In 1958 a cabinet maker, Paul Graedel, lived at 4217 Mandrake, a short distance from the present Graedel Court.
Oxford, Cambridge, Charing Cross, Kensington, New Castle, Roxbury, Londonderry – Oxford Place and Cambridge Road are named for the English universities. Charing Cross Road is named for a street in London, England. Kensington Drive is named for Kensington, a fashionable borough in London. Roxbury Road is probably named for Roxbury, Massachusetts, one of the first towns established by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Londonderry Drive is close to but not a part of the Berkeley Heights subdivision; Londonderry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland. Except for Cambridge Road, which may have some association with John Nolen, the landscape architect and urban planner who designed the area near Cambridge Road, none of these names seems to have any local connection.
Almo Avenue – Albert K. Moe (1884-1981) was a Norwegian immigrant who started out as a machinist. By 1927 he had become a building contractor and developer.
Some time before the 1950s, Albert acquired many acres of land west of North Sherman, north of McPherson, east of the Chicago and North Western tracks, and south of modern Trailsway, where he and his children began the Brentwood subdivision in the 1950s.
The main entrance to Brentwood Village from North Sherman is Almo Avenue for Albert Moe.
Northwestern Avenue, Crowley Avenue, O’Neill Avenue, Boyd Avenue, Kropf Avenue, Loftsgordon Avenue. Spohn Avenue – These streets are all part of Clyde A. Gallagher’s Sherman Avenue Subdivision. Loftsgordon is for a family who owned several lumber yards in the Atwood Avenue area. They were also active in financial circles.
In 1929 Leo T. Crowley was president and Charles O’Neill was vice president of the Bank of Wisconsin.
Joseph M. Boyd was president and Rudolph R. Kropf was secretary and treasurer of a financial firm, the Joseph M. Boyd Company at 2 South Carroll.
State Senator Fred Risser says that Northwestern Avenue is named for the Northwestern Securities Company, organized in 1913. In 1927 Senator Risser’s grandfather, Ernest N. Warner, was president. The company sold mortgages and bonds, loaned money, and sold real estate. Senator Risser’s father, Fred Risser was later an officer.
From at least 1905 until about 1950, George E. Spohn was president of a business college known first as Capital City Commercial College, then Madison College, and finally Madison Business College.
Warner Drive – is named for Ernest N. Warner in honor of his work as president of the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association. Warner Park is also named for E. N. Warner.
Blaine Drive, Goodland Road – These streets cross each other and are east of School Road south of Northport. John J. Blaine was Governor of Wisconsin from 1921 to 1927. Walter S. Goodland was Governor from 1943 to 1947.
Carioca Lane, Calypso Road – In 1959 Marlyn Sachtjen and her husband Bill built a house on Sachtjen land west of North Sherman and next to Brentwood Village. Marlyn says she chose Carioca and Calypso because “all the family names were used up and I thought it would be fun to have some Caribbean names.”
Manley Street, Vahlen Street – Marlyn Sachtjen’s son Stephan reports that “The Sachtjen farm house at 2215 N. Sherman was owned and occupied by my uncle Wilbur Sachtjen and his wife Kathryn Sachtjen (Manley) for many years. This is where Manley Street comes from. Another uncle Carl Sachtjen and his wife Della (Vahlen) lived right to the south of the Sachtjen homestead on Vahlen Street. This is where Vahlen Street came from.”
International Lane – In 1966 the Madison Chamber of Commerce sponsored a contest to choose a name for the street connecting Packers Avenue with the new Truax airport administration building. There were 15,000 entries. The winner was Mrs. Alice Draper with International Lane.
Moose Trail, Tenley Lane, Cordelia Crescent – In 2003, Moose Lodge 1451 and Women of the Moose Chapter 291 sold a 5.8 acre site at the northwest corner of Northport Drive and Kennedy Road that they had occupied since 1969 or 1970. The new owners named the plot Northport Commons and began to develop the area for single-family housing. Three streets were laid out. Robert Schwarz, a Madison developer who was associated with the project, helped choose their names. Moose Trail, which passes directly over the location of the former lodge building, is obvious. Tenley Lane is for Robert’s daughter. Cordelia Crescent is named for Mrs. Cordelia A. P. Harvey. Her husband Louis P. Harvey was elected governor of Wisconsin in 1861. He drowned in 1862 while delivering medical supplies and examining the care of sick and wounded Wisconsin soldiers.
Cordelia carried on his work until the end of the war and was the first superintendent of the Soldiers’ Orphans Home in Madison. She was the “Wisconsin Angel” to thousands of soldiers and hundreds of orphans.
The street name is particularly apt because the Moose and Women of the Moose have always been involved in the care of orphans and other children in need of a safe home.
Fuller Drive, Fuller Court, Paget Road – Morris E. Fuller (1821-1919) and his son Edward M. Fuller (1847-1918) are best known for their investments in the Fuller Opera House and an agricultural implement and internal combustion engine manufacturing company that eventually became Fuller and Johnson. (Johnson was John Anders Johnson [1832-1901], a Norwegian immigrant who started with the firm as a salesman and later became its president. He is best known as the founder of Gisholt Machine Company which manufactured lathes and similar products.)
Some time before 1890 Morris Fuller purchased about 25 acres of land north of the Yahara River between the Mendota shoreline and Sherman Avenue. Edward built a substantial estate on this land.
In October 2007 Beth Kubly told Don Kreul that she thought Paget Road was named for a Fuller family member, probably a child. Jessica Haskell Fuller (died 1930), Edward’s wife, had a half-sister named Paget Daniels Cady. The Cady’s son (1895-1966) was also named Paget. Paget Road, pronounced “padgett” by local residents, honors these two.
After Edward died in 1918, Jessica began to sell off land near the estate; in 1925 the Ross M. Koen Realty Co. was the sales agent for the Fuller’s Woods subdivision which eventually became part of the Village of Maple Bluff.
The Intersection of Pleasure Drive and Hooker Avenue – About 1906 the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association decided to build a connector between the northern section of Farwell Drive and Sherman Avenue. The road ran across the Maple Bluff Country Club golf course (where it was known as Golf Road), bridged the Chicago and North Western Railway tracks, and curved around to the present McPherson Street, at the northern border of the Sherman Park subdivision which contains Hooker Avenue.
This created, about 1928, an intersection – Pleasure Drive and Hooker Avenue – which has been a source of much amusement.
Joseph Hooker was a sometimes brilliant civil war general who was fond of hard liquor and fast women – so much so that reporters wrote of “Hooker’s brigade” of camp followers. The term “hooker” was actually in use long before Joseph Hooker, but popular legend attributes its origin to the general.
The street signs at Hooker and Pleasure Drive are reportedly the most often stolen of any in Madison.
Golf Road and the bridge were removed in the early 1960s.
In addition to personal observations and Ann Waidelich’s Madison history collection, the authors used many materials at the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Madison Public Library. These include maps, plat books, newspaper clippings, city directories, and phone books.
Special thanks to Robert K. Aberg, Donald B. Bruns, Marlene Gest, David Griffith, Donald Kreul, Marlyn Sachtjen, and Anne Forsberg Stuart.