What’s In a Name?

Ever wondered why there is a street in the D’ named “John R?” Or who “Woodward” was? Actually John R was a man named John Williams. He was a wealthy land owner, merchant, ran a newspaper and was the president of a bank. He inserted the “R” in his name to distinguish himself from any other John Williams. He loved his family so much that he named another familiar street downtown after his daughter, Elizabeth. Hamtramck’s “Joseph Compau” was John R’s uncle.

After a fire nearly destroyed Detroit in 1805, a man called Judge Augustus Woodward presented a plan to rebuild. He denied naming the street after himself, saying that it “ran towards the woods.” I find it facinating to read about how our streets and freeways were named. I know that Campau was one of the original investors with Henry Ford. Henry wanted to buy out all his partners so he named his 25 year old son, Edsel, as President. The stock plummeted and he then stepped in to disolve them.

1 Comment so far

  1. Mollika* (unregistered) on January 31st, 2007 @ 11:24 am

    I love learning about the origins of Detroit street names. What is the explanation for Tuxedo? It would be great if Map Detroit or Google Maps had the feature of embedding name origins into their programs.

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