One of the most recent projects taken on by Hamden Historical Society Researcher Paul Saubestre is determining the origins of Hamden's street names. In conjunction with the recent Presidents Day holiday, Paul investigated the origins of those streets with the same names as former U.S. presidents.
Hamden has a total of twelve current street names that are the last names of U.S. Presidents, although not all of them were named for the presidents.
There is a group of three intersecting streets with presidential street names: Washington Avenue, Lincoln and Harding streets. The last street was developed in 1923 shortly after President Warren G. Harding died in office.
Not far from the northern end of Washington Avenue is Monroe Street. As can be seen on the 1927 street map at right, it was originally planned to extend to Whitney Avenue. But today it is just a short stub off Marion Avenue. Many other streets in that area of the 1927 map were never completed or built at all.
Another pair of intersecting presidential streets are Garfield and Roosevelt, off Benham Street just east of the parkway. They were developed in 1925, so the latter must have been named for Theodore Roosevelt, not FDR.
Taft Street off Circular Avenue was very likely named for William Howard Taft. He was the only person to serve as both President and Chief Justice of the United States. Between his terms in those offices, he taught at Yale Law School. As an avid golfer, he would likely have played some rounds at New Haven Country Club.
Three streets have the names of presidents, but are named for Hamden men who died in World War II: Harrison Drive (looping around from Cherry Hill Road to Vantage Road) for Theron E. Harrison, Wilson Lane (a short street connecting Benham and Hearn Lane) for Wilson B. Trapp, and Jackson Road (connecting Ridge Road and Hartford Turnpike near the North Haven line) for William B. Jackson. President Andrew Jackson, who visited Eli Whitney's armory in 1833, was very likely the only president to visit Hamden while in office.
CLICK ON THE MAP TO ENLARGE IT FOR EASIER READING
The fine practice of naming streets for Hamden residents who died in wartime officially began with World War I, but Johnson Road (off Still Hill Road) was probably named for Charles Johnson who died in the Civil War. Ford Street was named for Moses Ford whose house still stands on the street.
I mentioned “current streets” at the start because there was one other street with a presidential name which no longer exists. Adams Street, also shown on the 1927 map, was a short street off Whitney Avenue in Mt. Carmel, just south of Tabor Street. One of its developers was a Mrs. F. L. Adams. It was obliterated in the mid-1970s by the Route 40 Connector.