Warren County Historical Society Presents …

The Digital Version “REWIND”

June 1, 2018


Street Names in the City of Glens Falls


        The information for this article comes from “Glimpses of the Past:  Historical Museum Notes,” by Richard C. Van Dusen. Produced by the Glens Falls Historical Association (that would eventually become the Glens Falls-Queensbury Historical Society and is now the group who runs the Chapman Museum in downtown Glens Falls).    Mr. Van Dusen worked at the Glens Falls Insurance Company.  His interest in history led him to writing occasional columns in The Post Star and The Glens Falls Times which the historical Association later published in a book.

        The story of John Glenn and Abraham Wing can be found in a Rewind story on the historical society web site (www.warrencountyhistoricalsociety.org) dated March 1, 2017.  In spite of the importance Abe Wing played in bringing people to the area and essentially the starting what would become Glens Falls the naming rights for the area fell to John Glenn, reportedly over a game of cards.

        Originally published over several months in the local newspapers in 1969, Mr. Van Dusen tells us of the origin of street names in the city.  This column is a companion Rewind article to the source of street names in the Village of Lake George (August 1, 2017, at the society web site).

        Of course, the main street through the city bears John Glenn’s name, with a slight change in spelling.  The next ‘main’ street was named Warren Street in 1813 when Warren County officially was partitioned from Washington County and named after Joseph Warren.  Warren was a young, early fatality in the cause of independence, having been killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

        Other streets in Glens Falls were named for various reasons:

        Pearl Street, a one-block-long street connecting Maple and Lawrence streets, running parallel to Ridge Street was probably taken from ‘Pearl Village,’ an early name for the area.  Mr. Van Dusen states, the name, “Pearl Village…which fortunately did not stick.” (p. 13).  He indicates that the first church in the area was called the Union Church of Pearl Village, (built 1802-1807) and ultimately became a Presbyterian congregation, located in the vicinity of the current parking lot next to St. Mary’s Church.  The first church was torn down in 1848, and two other churches on the site were lost to fire.

        In the beginning, what would become Ridge Street was called Quaker Street because it led to the Quaker settlement and cemetery.  (This does not refer to the Quaker Burial Ground at the corner of Bay and Quaker streets – but the Quaker cemetery at the corner of Ridge and Cronin Roads).

        An early settler in the area is responsible for the names of three streets:  Ridge Street, Sanford Street, and Sanfords Ridge.  David Sanford owned land in the Sanford Street area and built his home about three miles outside the village

        Zaccheus Towner, surveyor and son-in-law of Abraham Wing, and one of the first white men to come to the area in 1762, laid out the original town plot of land near which a fortification known as Fort Amherst was built.  The street near that fortification now bears that name – close to where Glenwood Avenue meets Glen Street.  [Fort Amherst Road connects Bay Road and Glen Street just above Crandall Park and Garrison Road, one block north of Fort Amherst, is also named for its military connection; Glenwood Avenue connects Glen Street just south of the Price Chopper and Bay Road – at the traffic light entrance to Lowe’s Plaza.]

        A brick yard on what would become Glenwood Avenue gave rise to Brick Yard Road – because of the Glens Falls Brick Company established there.  Brick Yard Pond would become today’s Hovey Pond, thanks to Fred Hovey developing the Hovey Ice Company there.

        Author James Fenimore Cooper is responsible for the names of a number of streets.  His Last of the Mohicans produced the names of Cooper Street, Mohican Street, and Hawk-eye Street.  Hawk-eye Street was later changed to Sherman Avenue, to honor the memory of Augustus Sherman.   Sherman was involved in several important industries in this community:  lumbering, canal boats, lime manufacturing, and banking to name a few enterprises.  [Cooper Street runs between Maple and Sanford Streets on the west side of The Shirt Factory; Mohican Street connects Glen Street at the bottom of the Glen Street Hill to Murray Street, between the hospital and the Hudson River; Hawk-eye Street, now Sherman Avenue, connect Glen Street and, after changing to Upper Sherman Avenue, goes all the way to West Mountain Road.]

        Pine Street was named for a single, particular pine tree that was in the middle of that road and people and traffic had to go around it.  [Pine Street is presently one block long between Glen and Elm Streets, between the telephone company building and its parking lot next to the Chapman Museum.

        New Pruyn Street was named after Samuel Pruyn, local lumber baron, but to avoid confusion with the name of Pine Street, village trustees added ‘New’ at the front.  [New Pruyn Street is a short street connecting the end of Pine Street with Broad Street.]

        Van Dusen indicates that other tree-named streets:  Oak, Elm, and Walnut streets were so-named for the abundance of that species in each of the areas. Perhaps the same can be said of Maple, Cherry and Locust streets.

        Native son John A. Dix, once Governor of New York State, built a home on the corner of Ridge Street and Lawton Avenue.  Located on Ridge Street one block north of the Avenue named for him, Lawton Street was named after a son of the Governor.

        Once named West Street, the present day Broad Street was renamed at the request of a number of families living there.  Van Dusen makes the point that it “demonstrated the power of public opinion.”

        Several streets in the city were lost with the building of the Henry Hudson Townhouses, now the Village Green Apartments.  Include was Coffin Street that was named after a well-known family.  Sanford Coffin was a street commissioner in the 1870s, which “may have been a factor in bringing about the (name) change.”  The original name of the street was Franklin Street.

        Another lost street was Mechanic Street, which no doubt got its name because of the number of craftsmen who worked there:  a blacksmith, boat builders, a sawyer, roofers and a machinist are listed in an early directory as plying their trade there.

        Alexander Stewart, a Civil War veteran, owned a considerable tract of land on South Street.  A highly respected man of the community, Stewart Avenue was named in his honor after his death.  [Stewart Avenue connects Staples Street with South Street on the west side of the city.]


        The first hospital in the village was located on Park Street, in what was the family home of the Park Family.  The family’s generous gift of the property prompted the name change to Park Street.  [Park Street connects Glen Street – opposite the Burger King restaurant and the hospital.]

        Not surprisingly, The Feeder Canal, completed in 1832, prompted the naming of Canal Street.  That name was later changed to Oakland Street, “…for no better reason than an Oakland Motor Car sales and service garage was established for a few years at the corner of Glen and Canal Streets.”

        Lime Street intersected Canal Street/Oakland Avenue opposite the important lime kilns on the Hudson River.  The name was changed to Fredella Avenue after the Italian immigrant, Joseph Fredella built a series of houses there using cast block construction.  [Fredella Street is one block long and connects Warren Street with Oakland

        The president of the village in the 1870s, a John Keenan, had Keenan Street named in his honor.  [Keenan Street is a short street between Warren and Maple Streets, nearly across from the Hyde Collection.]

        There was a Basin Street which dropped sharply down to Mohican Street.  It led to a basin where canal boars were repaired.  Most of the street was eliminated in later years due to expansion of the hospital.   [Looking at a modern map, a small section of Basin Street still remains today near the bridge to Pruyn’s Island.]

        While it would seem that the ‘presidential streets,’ including Lincoln, Garfield, Grant, and Harrison were named after former leaders of the nation, it is noted that Coolidge Avenue was actually named after a prominent local family of that name, long before ‘Silent Cal’ came to prominence.

        If you know of any other street name origins, please call the office (518-743-0734) or email us at mail@warrenccountyhistoricalsociety.org  and let us know.

        Material for this column was taken from Glimpses of the Past:  Historical Museum Notes by Richard C. Van Dusen (Glens Falls Historical Association, no date given).  It was edited and updated by Stan Cianfarano, Warren County Historian.




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