Some streets  were named for police officers who lost their lives in the line  of  duty. Other streets were named after soldiers and war heroes.  Yet some streets were named for people who  accomplished a certain task or goal in their life.  Some streets were  actually named for the owners of the land.  Although,    it’s  impossible to list every single street in The Bronx  here,  we will focus our attention on the much older streets  and how they got their names. Here they are in no particular  order.

Metropolitan Avenue

Named in  honor of the Metropolitan Life Insurance  Company,the company that built  Parkchester. When Parkchester was  finally completed, it  was the largest housing development in  the  country.

Mott Haven  Avenue

This street was named after Jordan L. Mott. He was born in the  year 1798  and was responsible for the economic and residential  development of this entire area. At one point, the Mott Haven section of  The Bronx was his property. He invented the coal  burning stove and  other kitchen and bathroom fixtures.

Bailey  Avenue

This street was named for  Nathaniel P. Bailey. He was born in 1809 and died in  1891.  He  owned a lot of land in The Bronx in the 19th Century. Mr.  Bailey,  settled in The Bronx in 1824 and quickly  became a successful businessman. He was only 35 years old when he retired. His property covered a part of what is now known as WestFordham . It extended from Fordham Road to Kingsbridge Road and from Bailey  Avenue to  University Avenue. He lived  in a mansion  which  overlooked the Harlem River  and it was said that  the view was so spectacular that one could see the New  Jersey  Palisades  to the west. When Mr. Bailey died, his estate  was  divided into streets and avenues. The majority of it became  the grounds of the present U.S. Veteran’s Administration  Medical Center.

Allerton  Avenue

This popular Bronx street was named after Daniel Allerton. He  was born in 1818 and died in 1877. He was one of the early Bronx  settlers who purchased and farmed this entire area with his wife Hustace.  Daniel was related to Isaac Allerton (1586-1659) who was the fifth signer  of the Mayflower Compact. The Allertons imported tobacco from Virginia .  U.S. Presidents Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) and Franklin D.  Roosevelt (1882-1945) are descendents of Isaac and Daniel Allerton.  The Allerton Family  is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery .

Hunts Point  Avenue

This area belonged to Thomas  Hunt. He settled here in the year 1670. He built  beautiful mansions  and farmed the land as well.  Hunts  Point became part of New  York City  in 1874. After the I.R.T. Subway line  to Manhattan  was constructed in 1908, the area experienced  significant changes. The  neighborhood is world famous for the Hunts  Point Terminal Market, which is the largest produce market in the  United  States .

Alexander  Avenue

This  street was named after a family of land owners and  developers. They were Robert, Ellen and their son Edwin Alexander.  Unfortunately, very little is known about this Bronx family.

Barretto  Street 

This  particular street was named after Francis J.Barretto. Not the famous  Puerto Rican conga player as some people believe. He was a 19th Century  merchant who lived in the area. Many streets in the  Hunts Point area of The Bronx have the names of the rich  families who owned lots of land there during the 18th and 19th  centuries.

Coster  Street

This street  just two blocks away from Barretto Street ,  was named for Julia  Coster. She was Barretto’s wife.

Longfellow  Avenue

This  street was named to honor Henry Wadsworth  Longfellow. He was born in 1807 and died in 1882. He was one of the most  popular American poets in the 19th Century.

Anthony  Avenue

This street was named after  Charles L.  Anthony.    He owned a lot of land around Kingsbridge Road  . His properties extended from Jerome Avenue to Tremont Avenue    and parts of Webster Avenue in the early 1870s..

Major Deegan  Expressway

Major William F. Deegan  (1882-1932) was the son of Irish immigrants. He studied architecture. He  served  during WWI as a staff officer of the 105th Field Artillery and  later  as a major with the Army Corps of Engineers under General  George W. Goethals. He oversaw the constructionof many army bases in New  York City . Mr. Deegan was also president of The  Bronx Chamber of  Commerce. In 1937, New York City Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia renamed the  west portion to  the Triborough  Bridge , Major William F.  Deegan Boulevard. When construction of this boulevard was  extended in 1956, it  was later renamed the Major Deegan  Expressway.

Pelham Parkway

The entire area around Pelham  Bay Park  and where Pelham Parkway  nowstands belonged to Thomas  Pell. The original house which was completedin the year 1670 by Mr. Pell’s  nephew Sir John Pell, was destroyed during the American  Revolution.

Bartow  Avenue
In honor of Robert  Bartow who was a publisher and who bought much ofthe land on or near  Coop City in 1836. Mr. Bartow was also related to Thomas  Pell.  The Bartow-Pell Mansion stands within the grounds of  Pelham Bay Park and it’s the longest property in the city  parks system. It is exactly  2,764  acres.

Lorillard Avenue

Brothers  Peter and George Lorillard owned a thriving tobacco business. They took  over the family business from their father Pierre Lorillard in 1792 when he  was killed by British troops during the occupation of New York in the  late 1770s. As their  business grew, so did the amount of land that  they owned in The Bronx. After the Civil War, The Lorillards moved their  business to New Jersey  and donated their mansion to The Hospital for  Incurables.  Today, this hospital is known as  St.  Barnabas Hospital.

Bathgate  Avenue

This street  was named in honor of Andrew Bathgate.  He ran the  BathgateFamily  Farm. This was one of the most largest farms in  The Bronx in the 19th Century.

Cauldwell Avenue

In honor  of William Cauldwell this street was named.  He was among the first  people to buy land in The Bronx from the Morris Family, way back in the mid  1800s. Mr. Cauldwell was also the supervisor of the Village of West Farms  in  1857.

Watson Avenue

This street gets its name from a  very rich family who owned most of the land around this area of The Bronx  in the 19th Century.Very little else is known  about  them.

University Avenue

This Bronx  street is named after New  York University , which occupied the  50-acre University Heights Campus, located at 180th Street between Sedgwick  and University Avenues. That was way back in 1894. Today,  Bronx Community College occupies the entire campus.

Davidson  Avenue

Very little is also known about Oliver Mathias Davidson for whom  this street was named after.  Mr. Davidson served as Chief Engineer  of Streets from  1867 to 1872 and at one time also owned some land  around Fordham. On a map from 1868, it lists Kingsbridge  Road ,Davidson Avenue, West 190th Street and part of The Veteran’s  Administration
Medical Center  on Webb Avenue  as part his  property.

Castle Hill Avenue

This  street was  originally nothing more than an Indian dirt path. It led to a fortress on a  hill overlooking The Bronx River in the 19th Century.

Clason  Point

A man named Isaac Clason in the year 1720 bought 1,000 acres in  the eastern half of The  Bronx . He was a ship owner and a  successful Scottish  merchant.  In the years that followed, rich  families such as The Ludlows and The Lelands built farmhouses in the area  and renamed this entire  area Clason Point.  By the early 20th  Century, Clason Point was a mixture of mansions, farmland and plenty of  undeveloped swampland. Ferry boats between Clason Point and College  Point in Queens ensured a steady flow of visitors and the area soon grew  into a seasonalresort.

Gun  Hill  Road

Originally, this was also an Indian trail. This route was a  strategic path  for the soldiers who were battling the war here.The  British and the Americans fought fiercely to control this area. A group of  soldiers led by Captain Bryant, dragged a cannon to a nearby hill and  fired it upon the charging British Army. This forced theBritish Army to  retreat west to The Kings Bridge allowing the locals to escape. Soon this  area was known as Gun Hill Road .

Fox  Street

This  street was named in honor of 19th Century Bronx  resident  William F. Fox. In the 1850s Mr. Fox inherited large amounts  of land in the South Bronx .He  increased his wealth even more when he  took a very rich woman  named  Charlotte Leggett as his bride.The  Fox Family was also tied to the Tiffany Family who owned a very large  portion of land in the Eastern part of The Bronx.

Leggett  Avenue

The Leggett Family first settled  in The Bronx in 1661.Gabriel and Elizabeth  Leggett became the owners  of what is now the West Farms Section of The Bronx.Their son William  Leggett was famous for writing novels. Samuel  Leggett, Charlotte ‘s  brother, was the founder of the New York Gas lighting  Company.

Featherbed  Lane

There are four  different stories as to how  Featherbed Lane got its name.  One story says that during the  Revolutionary War, locals covered the street with turkey and chicken  feathers so that soldiers fighting the British could move quietly through  the area. Another story says that the road was so rough that those who  traveled on it padded their carriage seats with featherbeds to keep it from  being too uncomfortable. A third storycontradicts the first two. It  suggests that the road was so muddy that it provided a  smooth ride as  if they were traveling on feathers. The last story has really nothing to do  with the road itself. It suggests  that the name dates back to the  1840s, when this area was home to a large  number of prostitutes who  worked the  area.

Fordham Road

The name Fordham  dates back to the 17th Century. In 1671, then GovernorFrancis Lovelace  granted a stretch of land extending 3,900 acres betweenthe  Harlem  and Bronx Rivers  to Dutch settler John Archer.  Mr. Archernamed his land Fordham, which meant “houses by the ford” or wadingplace. This  was the only way to cross directly from The Bronx to Manhattan . After the death of Mr. Archer,his manor was divided into smaller farms and  the area soon  evolved into a  thriving community.

Fort Independence Avenue

According to history, back in  1915  several cannon balls were unearthed in this  area. They  were positively identified as coming from the days when George Washington  was commanding the fort. In honor of this greatdiscovery, the name Fort  Independence stuck.

Kingsbridge Road

This  street was  named for the first bridge connecting Manhattan to the mainland in  1693.

Mapes Avenue

This street was named after the Mapes Family. They were  rich landowners and business people too. They were among the first  Colonial Settlers of this area of East Tremont . Thomas Mapes  (1628-1687) and his wife Sarah Purrier (1630-1697), were the first members of this family to arrive in The Bronx. At the end of the American Revolution, the Mapes Family operated a store in West  Farms Village on the corner of Boston Road  and  E  179th  Street .  This site was previously owned by the De Lancey  Mills. The Mapes store sold general goods  such as coal, paint, flour,  horse feed and all sorts of seeds.  Altogether, this family  owned and operated three stores in this  area. The stores were still  being operated by other family members until the early part of  the 20th  Century.


This street and section of The Bronx was once known as  Upper Morrisania . In the mid 19th Century, Postmaster Hiram  Tarbox proposedthe new name to avoid mail confusion with the Village  of  Morrisania . He came up with the name “Tremont” for the  three hills that the neighborhood had.  They were… Mount Eden , Mount Hope and Fairmount. And that’s how the name “Tremont”  was born.

Plimpton  Avenue

This street was named  for George A.  Plimpton (1855-1936) who was a publisher, teacher and  treasurer of Barnard College who maintained a small estate  nearby.

Olinville  Avenue

This street and section  of The Bronx was named in honor of Stephen Olin(1797-1851) .He was an  author, professor and Methodist bishop. He was born in  Vermont  .  His land properties included the entire Olinville sectionof The  Bronx ..

Parker Street 

This street was named to honor James Parker. He was an influential Justice of  the Peace in the  Village of Westchester in the early 1850s. The Village  of    Westchester  is now known as Westchester Square .

Seabury  Avenue

This street was named for Dr.  Samuel Seabury III, (1710-1796). He was rector of St. Peter’s Protestant  Episcopalian Church  in Westchester Village . He graduated from  Yale University in 1748 and was a bishop in Scotland in  1784.

Haviland Avenue

This  street was named after  a Colonial era farming family. Back in 1695, Joseph and Mary Haviland  bought 30 acres of land on the east bank of The Bronx River. Mr. Joseph  Haviland, was listed in 1703 as a trustee and freeholder of the town of  Westchester The land that is today Haviland Avenue , was part of the  Pugsley Farm from 1770  until 1854.

Pugsley  Avenue

This street was named for the Pugsley Family.They were farm  and landowners.  There was a Mr.Talman Pugsley listed in 1794 as  owning over 200 acres of land. Some of this land became part of what is  today known as Parkchester.

Heath  Avenue

This street honors patriot and soldier, Major General William  Heath (1737-1814). He faught in many battles during the Revolutionary War. He also commanded  some troops under George Washington(1732-1799) at  thebattles of Long Island, Harlem    Heights and White Plains . He also took command of  the Hudson River troops, after Benedict  Arnold (1741-1801) betrayed his countrymen and fled into the hands of  the British Army.  General Heath was also a central figure in the  battle of Fort Independence in January 1777.

Bartholdi  Street

This  street was named after Fredrick Auguste  Bartholdi. He was the man who  designed the Statue of Liberty. The statue’s real name was “Liberty Enlightning The World”. Today we  know her simply as “Lady Liberty”. The face of the statue is said to  resemble Bartholdi’s  mother.


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8 Responses

  1. Brian Andersson

    Nice job….But readers would do well to buy John McNamara’s “History in Asphalt” if they’re really interested in Bronx street names. Available through the Bronx County Historical Society, I’m sure.

  2. Joseph Sprowls

    The photograph which showed Fordham Road looking west from Valentine Avenue was taken circa 1961-62 according to the marque of the RKO Fordham.

  3. Andrew J Quinn

    Very enlightening and well written. Thanks from a Bronx kid who lived on De voe Terrace and latter over Jackson’s Restaurant corner of Fordham and Sedgewick Ave.

  4. Andren

    Very enlightening and well written. Thanks from a Bronx kid who lived on De voe Terrace and latter over Jackson’s Restaurant corner of Fordham and Sedgewick Ave.

  5. Patrick Walsh

    Great article and very interesting. I live in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx and find all this stuff interesting. Anything to do with South Yonkers and the Bronx intrigues me.

  6. marge degenholtz

    Very interesting…How about Mosholu Parkway? That’s where I was brought up. Also, the story on The Bronx got its name is very interesting. Thanks, Marge Degenholtz

  7. Harriet Z. Ritter

    I had no idea.. Very interesting and very enlightening ..


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