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Special Report: Street Stories - The history behind Corpus Christi street names
Col. H.L. Kinney founded Corpus Christi in 1839, and the names he chose for many Corpus Christi streets over a century and a half ago still remain.
KIII STAFF , KIII 10:50 PM. CST February 15, 2017
CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - Col. H.L. Kinney founded Corpus Christi in 1839, and the names he chose for many Corpus Christi streets over a century and a half ago still remain.
So how did he choose them, and how did others later come to be?
Kinney liked wildlife, which makes sense. He named some downtown streets after animals -- Leopard, Buffalo, Antelope, even Oso, which in Spanish means bear. Another street of spanish origin is Chaparral, which means thick brush.
Kinney also named streets after people he liked, like John Peter Schatzell.
Schatzell lent Kinney a lot of money to help put on what in 1852 was a big deal -- the Lone Star Fair.
Now, let's fast forward to the 20th century.
"A lot of streets got renamed in the 30s and 40s and 50s because that was a period of big growth as a result of the Naval Air Station coming in the 30s and WWII in the 40s, and refineries built in the 1950s," Historian Bill Chriss said.
As for streets like Yorktown, Saratoga and Lexington, which is now SPID, "those three are named after aircraft carriers, which also happen to be named after battles of the American Revolutionary War," Chriss said.
Rodd Field and Waldron roads are named after war heroes.
"Waldron Road was named after Commander John C. Waldron, who led the first bomb attack, torpedo bombing attack, at the Battle of Midway and was killed," Chriss said.
The first American casualty of WWII was a Corpus Christi man named Billy Jack Brownlee. Corpus Christi man Warren Joseph Sherrill was killed the same day. Sherrill park was named after him.
It is clear the city honors its heroes, with all names spelled correctly except in the case of a few city streets that are still mispelled to this day, like Twigg. The street was named by Kinney after David Twiggs with an "s", a general in the Mexican War. To this day, the street is still named Twigg.
Also, Hewitt Drive was named after Daniel Hewitt, who started a streetcar company here in Corpus Christi in 1909. His last name was actually spelled Hewett.
Below is a slideshow including old photos and article excerpts courtesy of Murphy Givens.