How Raleigh Streets Got Their Names

Photo courtesy of the State Archives of NC

There are countless streets, avenues, boulevards and roads that pave the cities we live in, but only a few can evoke a specific feeling or association. From the iconic Wall Street in New York City to Rodeo Drive in California to the road you learned to ride a bike on, those slabs of pavement hold meaning. But how did they get their names and who named them?

North Carolina is home to countless unique and some even peculiar street names. So, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites and dug a little deeper to uncover the history and meaning behind each name.

Saunders Street. This street was named for a Romulus M. Saunders, who served as a judge, congressman and minister of Spain.

Glenwood Avenue. What was once the northern continuation of Saunders Street, this street now stands alone.

Boylan Avenue. This street led to the mansion of William Boylan, where his family lived since before 1820.

Pullen Road. This street runs alongside Pullen Park, whose land was donated by R. Stanhope Pullen. He also donated land for the N.C. College of Agriculture and Mechanic Art, which is now known as N.C. State University.

Six Forks. Keeping things simple, this road is named for a former community in northern Wake County near the head of Mine Creek, where six roads came together.

Avent Ferry Road. Named for a ferry that operated from 1775 to 1926, this ferry helped people cross Cape Fear River near N.C. 42, until a bridge was constructed.

Jones Sausage Road. This name probably speaks for itself. The Jesse Jones Sausage Company, that General Mills purchased in 1968, named this road along Interstate 40, when their company was founded.

Davie Street. This street was named for William Davie, a revolutionary general considered to be the father of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Lenoir Street. William Lenoir, a state Senate speaker, who was also a revolutionary general was honored with this street name.

Cabarrus Street. Named for Stephen Cabarrus, a state House speaker and UNC trustee.

With history along every turn, North Carolina is full of dirt roads and side streets with unique and special names. So, next time you’re out and about, take the time to look up and see where you’re at and do a little research. You might learn something new!

About the Author

In 2003, David recognized a need for an alternative to the traditional 6% commission real estate model. Realizing there were no options available for sellers, David created Carolina’s Choice Real Estate. Since 2003, David has sold over 2,300 homes and produced over $620,000,000 in closed sales. Saving his clients nearly $22,000,000 in commissions. Named in Top 100 Most Influential Realtors in North Carolina for 2016. Consistent Top 5 Producer in Listing Sales for Triangle Area, NC.