Origins of Littleton Street Names

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Map - Richard Little's 1872 plat map of Littleton.
Richard Little's 1872 plat map of Littleton.

We travel along Littleton's streets every day without a thought to why it's named Prince or Bemis or Alamo. But the names of streets in Littleton tell the history of the town itself, if you take the time to study them. Richard Little laid out the original village of Littleton in 1872 and gave many of the platted streets names important to him. The main street, which ran east and west and led directly to his Rough & Ready Flour Mill, was named, appropriately, Main Street. Later, nearly every important family added its name to the list.

Changes to Littleton Addresses in 1961

Among streets in the original 1872 plat, we find:

Low St. Named because it ran through the lowest elevation on Little's land.
High St. You guessed it! This ran along the highest elevation in the plat.
Church St. The location of Littleton's first church, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, on land donated by Richard Little.
Curtice St. Named for Little's close friend Rodney Curtis.
Rapp St. Another friend and neighbor, Charles Rapp.
Berry St. Named for Benjamin J. Berry, father-in-law of Julius Hill, owner of the first general store in Littleton.
Malinda St. The original name of Alamo Avenue, was named, presumably, for an acquaintance of Little's, but no one by that name lived in the area at that time.
Prince St. Richard Little's favorite horse.
Vermont St. The state of Little's college.

Among streets to come along since:

Alamo Ave. Originally named Malinda St. by Richard Little, but changed in 1910 through the efforts of the Littleton Women's Club to recognize the trees that lined it. "Alamo" is Spanish for "cottonwood."
Bowles Ave. Joseph W. Bowles, one of the 1862 settlers of Littleton as well as County Sheriff and state legislator.
Bradbury Ln. Named by a prominent cattle and wheat grower and developer for himself, Thomas W. Bradbury.
Caley St. Frank T. Caley, founder of Ideal Cheese Co., and the man most responsible for making Littleton the Arapahoe County seat.
Crocker St. Martha R. Crocker, first president of the Littleton Library Board in 1897.
Gallup St. Avery and Charlotte Gallup, who owned 700 acres in the Ketring Lake area.
Hill St. Named for two prominent early businessmen, O.G. Hill ran operated a drugstore on Rapp and later a feed supply on Main Street, while Julius Hill built Littleton's first general store.
Jackass Hill Rd. Named, allegedly, for scores of mules abandoned nearby by a failed World War I entrepreneur.
Lilley St. John G. Lilley, one of the original partners with R.S. Little in the Rough and Ready Mill.
Louthan St. Named in honor of three-time mayor and one of Littleton's most popular citizens, Charles Louthan, who, as a contractor, had built many of the homes along the street.
Noble Road Originally named Nobles Rd., for Gus Nobles, a longtime Denver policeman and Littleton resident (it is unknown why the "s" was dropped from signs).
Patterson Pl. Charles B. Patterson, an original '59er and first president of the Board of Commissioners of South Arapahoe (later Arapahoe) County.
Powers St. William A. Powers, a long-time West School janitor.
Prescott St. Daniel Prescott, a Denver judge and later, Arapahoe County Attorney, was responsible for bringing the trolley into Littleton from Denver.
Shepperd St. "Colonel" Hampden H. Shepperd, railroad man and four-time mayor (Hampden Ave. in Englewood is also named for him).
Spotswood Ave. "Colonel" Robert J. Spotswood, pioneer stage line operator and owner of much of the Fort Logan and Mullen properties.
Sterne Blvd. William "Billy" Sterne, the man who brought electricity to Littleton in 1903, and owner of Arapahoe Light and Power until its acquisition by Public Service Co.
Weaver Ave. George W. Weaver, an employee of the First National Bank for 34 years and owner of the land where the street was platted.
Windermere St. Named after the largest lake in England, Windermere, which means "clear water lake", by Avery Gallup, owner of the land (and Ketring Lake) the street passed by.

Bibliography

Littleton Independent. Littleton Independent Publishers, 1888- .

McQuarie, Robert J. and C.W. Buchholtz. Littleton, Colorado: Settlement to Centennial. Littleton: Littleton Historical Museum and Friends of the Library and Museum, 1990.

Photographs courtesy of the Littleton Museum, unless otherwise noted; to order copies, contact the Museum at 303-795-3950.

 

Compiled by Pat Massengill

Updated May 2017