"Street Names"
Lee County IL

There have been many changes in the original Dixon street names since "Father" John Dixon requested that Joseph Crawford, County Surveyor of Lee County in 1840, drew up the first plat of the town of Dixon; most of these changes took place in 1891 and the greater majority of them are still being used today.

In 1840 North Galena Avenue was called Wilkinson Street in honor of John Dixon's close friend, Judge Wilkinson. In 1891 Galena Street, which was also on the 1840 plat map, was changed to an avenue to correspond to its northerly half.

Boyd Street was named after Clark S. Boyd, a brother-in-law of Dixon's who had no actual connection with this city, rather, having lived and died in Princeton. It was he who bought the home of "Father" Dixon in Bureau County when Dixon left there to move to Ogee's Ferry in 1830.

North Brinton Avenue was, at first, called North Crawford Avenue, but had its name changed in 1922 to honor Col. William B. Brinton, a former Dixon mayor, who was instrumental in securing the Dixon State School's location in the community.

Cyrus Chamberlin of Grand Detour gave his name to the North side street. He was one of three Ogle County commissioners who selected the boundaries of the new Lee County when it was separated from Ogle County.

What is now referred to as Dement Avenue, was at first called Washington Street and Dixon Avenue was originally Haskelton Street. These changes came about with Gilbraith Street being changed from that name to Ottawa Avenue at the same time in 1891.

McKenney Street is the only street in Dixon to be named after an entire family. There were 11 members of the McKenney clan in Dixon, all prominent members of the pioneer town and rather than single anyone of them out for the honor of having a street named after them, Crawford and Dixon honored the entire family.

Peoria Avenue was at first called Martin Street in honor of George A. Martin who, in 1833, opened the first notions store in the city. His home and store were located at the corner of Water Street (a name later changed to River Street) and the first bridge to cross the Rock River at Gilbraith Street (now Ottawa Avenue).

Graham Street (a name that has remained through the years) was named to honor Captain Hugh Graham who, in 1834, was the head of a large group of eastern people who settled in wliat was then called the "New York Colony" of Palmyra Township.

Another name that has remained unchanged down through the years is Morgan Street; named for Harry Morgan of Palmyra, the first probate justice of the peace in the county.

Bowman Street (now called Hennepin Avenue) and Wright Street (now Jefferson Avenue) were changed in 1891 as was Short Street to Forrest Avenue in 1895 and, in 1967, to Washington Avenue.

Of the original 18 named streets in the Dixon of 1840, ten have had their names changed while eight have remained the same. Those are: Boyd, Chamberlin, McKenney, Graham, Morgan, Bradshaw, Everett and Fellows Streets.

Excerpt from the book "Reminiscences" by George Lamb 1970