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Historic Evansville

The definitive site for all things historic in Evansville

Street Numbering

When Evansville was platted, houses didn't have specific street numbers. In older city directories, homes are listed only by a description (i.e. "northeast side of 1st between Chestnut and Cherry").

It wasn't until May 1873 that the city passed an ordinance adopting a numbering system. At the same time, the city sought to put some order behind its street names. Numbered streets in Lamasco and other roads enveloped by the growing town had duplicate names. Also some shorter roads were combined to give some cohesion, though the resulting street jogs may seem odd to today's driver. Click here for a list of renamed streets.

The street numbers were based on the block and the house's location within the block. For the most part houses followed the formula below.

Street address = ( 100 * Block number ) + House number

Block number

Block numbers started from the beginning of the street or for some were split by East and West or Upper and Lower (upstream or downstream of the Ohio River) . The block number was used as the first number (hundreds digit) of the street address, so a house on block 2 would be in the 200's.

Streets Block number
Downtown streets running northwest-southeast Upper - number of blocks southeast from Division St
Lower - number of blocks northwest from Division St
Streets running east-west West - number of blocks west from Fulton Ave
East - number of blocks east from Fulton Ave
Other streets number of blocks from the beginning of the street

House number

House numbers were determined by which side of the street the house was on and its relative distance from the start of the block. Most blocks contained between 20 and 30 lots, though larger houses or double lots caused some numbers to skip. A house at the start of the block would be lower (i.e. 201) whereas one toward the end of the block would be higher (i.e. 424). For the most part, as you continued up a street away from the beginning, houses on the right were odd and houses on the left were even.

Examples

  • August Rosenberger's house is situated on the east/right side of Wabash Ave between Michigan and Virginia. The home was on the sixth block of Wabash starting from the river (0-RIVER/Vermont, 1-Ohio, 2-Penn, 3-Indiana, 4-llinois, 5-Franklin, 6-Michigan) and was numbered 609 Wabash Ave.
  • The old Emanuel Lutheran School was located on the north/left side of Franklin between Second Ave and First Ave. The school was on the 3rd block east of Fulton (0-Fulton, 1-Fourth, 2-Third, 3-Second) and was numbered 310 E Franklin St.
  • The Reitz Museum, on the northeast/left side of 1st St at the corner of Chestnut, was originally 524 Upper 1st St (0U-Division, 1U-Vine, 2U-Sycamore, 3U-Main, 4U-Locust, 5U-Walnut).
  • St John's Evangelical church was on the northeast/right side of 3rd St within a block of Division St/Court St. Its address was 25 Lower 3rd St (0L-Division).


    Renumbering

    The rapid growth of Evansville, especially after the turn of the century, caused several issues with the city's street system. As boundary lines extended and land was subdivided, some streets didn't line up and different designs caused street jogs and dead ends. Additionally with the advent of automobiles, street widths and layouts varied and the town sought to put some uniformity in its city planning.

    A 1925 booklet issued by the city plan commission addressed the problem (available here from EVPL eBooks). Not all the proposed changes were made, but several were implemented. Some streets were renamed and the house numbering used in Evansville was altered. The intent was so that blocks had the same number across the map and an address would give you an idea of the distance from downtown. The changes took place in 1929 and are summarized below. Several streets were also renamed. For more on that click here.

    Before After
    Downtown streets are indexed from Division St/Court St (Upper/Lower, later S/N) Downtown streets are indexed from Main St (SE/NW)
    Streets running east-west are indexed from Fulton Ave (W/E) Streets running east-west are indexed from N Main St (W/E)
      Streets running north-south are indexed from Pennsylvania St/Division St (N/S)
    Other streets are indexed from the start of the street Other streets are indexed from their relative position to Main St or Pennsylvania St/Division St

    For the most part the numbering was a simple retrofitting of the block number (hundreds digit) but there were some exceptions (St Boniface Rectory at 616 Wabash became 418 N Wabash). Streets with long blocks often had to create half blocks which started at 50 instead of 0. (Barnett Drug Store at 300 Washington Ave became 250 Washington). Also houses between Fulton and Main and between Main and Division/Court switched their prefix (E vs. W or NW/Lower vs. SE/Upper). The table below summarizes formulas used to calculate the block number of the new address for most of these properties.

    East-West streets West of Fulton: new = old + 1100
    Betweeen Fulton and Main: new = 1100 - old; replace E with W
    East of Main: new = old - 1200
    Upper-Lower streets Northwest of Court St: new = old + 300; replace Lower with NW
    Between Court and Main: new = 300 - old; replace Upper with NW
    southeast of Main: new = old - 300; replace Upper with SE

    Examples (revisited)

  • August Rosenberger's house was originally 609 Wabash Ave (0-RIVER/Vermont, 1-Ohio, 2-Penn, 3-Indiana, 4-llinois, 5-Franklin, 6-Michigan). After the change, it was the 4th block north of Pennsylvania St (0N-Penn, 1N-Indiana, 2N-Illinois, 3N-Franklin, 4N-Michigan) hence 409 N Wabash.
  • Emanuel Lutheran School was numbered 310 E Franklin St (0-Fulton, 1-Fourth, 2-Third, 3-Second). It was changed to 809 W Franklin St when the numbering was changed since it was on the 8th block west of Main (0-Main, 1-Baker, 2-Garfield, 3-Read, 4-Harriet, 5-Mary, 6-Edgar, 7-Oakley, 8-First) and was now on the north/right side.
  • The Reitz Museum originally at 524 Upper 1st St (0U-Division, 1U-Vine, 2U-Sycamore, 3U-Main, 4U-Locust, 5U-Walnut), was now only 2 blocks from Main St (0SE-Main, 1SE-Locust, 2SE-Walnut) and renumbered 224 SE 1st St.
  • St John's Evangelical church was originally 25 Lower 3rd St (0L-Division). After the change, the address became 321 NW 3rd St since it was on the 3rd block from Main (0NW-Main, 1NW-Sycamore, 2NW-Vine, 3NW-Court).