Did You Know...

Have you ever wondered who the streets in your town are named after?
Nov 6, 2023
Did You Know...

Have you ever wondered who the streets in your town are named after? What was their significance or contribution to the area? The list of these streets in and around Allen County is extensive, and many are named after families and individuals who were pioneers in this area, helping grow and establish the thriving cities we live in today. Here are just a few we found to be especially interesting.

Ewing Street
Ewing Street is named after the Ewing family, a group of Fort Wayne’s pioneers. Alexander Ewing, the patriarch of the family, was a Revolutionary War veteran who served under George Washington from 1779 to the surrender of the British at Yorktown in 1783. Ewing was the first trader in Buffalo, New York in 1802 and he remained active in the military when duty called during the War of 1812. Ewing settled in Fort Wayne in 1822 and operated the first tavern, known as “Washington Hall.” The Ewing tavern was where the first business was conducted when Allen County was formed in 1824. There were three sons of Ewing who also had a major role in the development of Fort Wayne. Charles Ewing was the first lawyer in Allen County; two younger sons, William Ewing and George W. Ewing amassed a fortune in the fur-trade and in land speculation.

Francis Street & Comparet Street
These streets are named after Francis Comparet, a French Canadian businessman who is, amongst other endeavors, known for establishing a fur trading post. The first bank organized in Fort Wayne, a branch of the State Bank of Indiana, was located at Comparet’s home on the south side of Columbia Street. Years later he ran the “American House,” a hotel on Columbia Street, and was also a member of the first fire company in Fort Wayne.

Hanna Street
Hanna Street was named in honor of Samuel Hanna. Hanna was a pioneer resident of Fort Wayne, and can be considered the person who had the greatest role in the founding and development of Fort Wayne as a major city. He arrived in Fort Wayne from Piqua, Ohio in 1819, shortly after the actual “fort” was abandoned by the U.S. Military. He was 22-years-old and was drawn by the trade with the Native Americans. Hanna founded a log store and was immediately successful. Allen County was formed in 1824 and the original plat of Fort Wayne was also created in 1824. Hanna worked diligently for the rest of his life to promote, grow and improve Fort Wayne. Sam Hanna was the first postmaster and a Circuit Court judge. He was a large land-owner who platted early sections as Fort Wayne grew. He was a promoter of growth via transportation improvements and kept pace with the newest ways to promote travel and trade to Fort Wayne. He was instrumental in building plank roads, the Wabash and Erie Canal, and railroads. Along with the transformation of local transportation from rivers to railroads, Hanna made sure that economic development followed, a major example being the Pennsy Shops – locomotive and railroad car shops supporting the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Lasselle Street
Lasselle Street is named after Charles B. Lasselle and the Lasselle family. A French family, the Lasselles resided in the Wabash region since Revolutionary times. Charles is said to be the first white man born in the Indian town of Kekionga (Fort Wayne). 

Vance Avenue
Captain Samuel C. Vance was pivotal in laying out the city of Lawrenceburg, Indiana (named after his wife, Mary Morris Lawrence). He served as the Clerk of the Courts for Dearborn County and was also one of the directors of the Indiana Canal Company in 1805. He served as a soldier under Anthony Wayne and fought in the War of 1812 as well. In 1822, Vance ran for congress, but was unsuccessful. He did, however, become Registrar of the Fort Wayne land office. Living

Sources: indcanal.org; The Indiana Quarterly Magazine of History, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Third Quarter, 1905), pp. 132-134 (3 pages); indianahistory.org; forgottenbooks.com

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