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The Archivist: Oklahoma City's street names have some history

Mary Phillips: A story from The Oklahoman on Nov. 27, 1925, addressed potholes in the roads, but also gave the history of several street names.
BY MARY PHILLIPS Published: February 25, 2013

Billen was born in Prussia in 1845 and grew up in Aurora, Ill. He moved to Oklahoma City in the 1890s and bought a farm on NW 16th.

The addition he platted was named for his boyhood home.

“Ellison avenue looks to Luke Ellison, prominent Mason in Oklahoma City in the early days as a godfather.”

Ellison bought the farm that was to become the Miller Boulevard neighborhood for $200.

“Reno is for Major Reno, an early-day army officer.”

Maj. Gen. Jesse L. Reno was killed while commanding his troops at the Battle of South Mountain during the Civil War.

He lent his name to towns in Nevada and Pennsylvania, a county in Kansas, as well as our own El Reno and Fort Reno.

“The forests live with Ash avenue, Elm street, Cypress and Walnut and the Indian tribes with Pottawatomie, Choctaw or the state's with Pennsylvania and California while Kate avenue they'll tell you at the city hall received it's baptism at the hands of a congenial Irish woman, called Kate, who served home-made doughnuts and coffee to a crew that surveyed the street.”

Read “The Archivist” at


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