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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
This street just two blocks away from Barretto Street , was named for Julia Coster. She was Barretto’s wife.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
This street was named for the first bridge connecting Manhattan to the mainland in 1693.
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.
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.
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 ..
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.