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 mphillips@opubco.com Published: February 25, 2013

From the unpaved streets of the Land Run to the Interstate highways of today, city drivers are not surprised by the potholes, cracks and rough surfaces they encounter.

A story from The Oklahoman on Nov. 27, 1925, addressed that issue but also gave the history of several street names.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

“Pavements rutted by heavy truck traffic, inclement weather are not endeared to the hearts of Oklahoma Cityans in their infancy of heavy taxes nor when a puncture is picked up. They are the roundelay of abuse from city hall to the city limits — and yet have a heart — they have a heart.

Take Bath avenue, back of that name is a personality — not a Saturday night ablution. The street was named for V.L. Bath, realty man.”

Bath was one of Oklahoma City's earliest settlers.

“Dewey avenue has two fathers and is proud of both. One is Admiral Dewey, Spanish-American war hero and the other, Dr. Fred S. Dewey, pioneer physician of the capital city and formerly an army contract surgeon during the 90s. It is the only street in the city that old-timers attribute to different men.”

Dr. Frederick Stanley Dewey was Oklahoma City's first coroner. His father was Adm. George Dewey's cousin.

“Peter Billen who platted the Aurora addition was a prominent farmer here, breathed life into the painted curb signs, Billen avenue.”

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