Historical Street Names

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The City of Olathe enjoys a rich History that has contributed to our street names.

Black Bob Road

Black Bob Road was named after the chief of a band of Shawnee Indians.

Black Bob assisted in negotiating land for the group's reservation with the United States Government in 1854.

A History of Johnson County Kansas, a book written by Ed Blair in 1915, states the 200,000-acre Black Bob reservation was in the southeastern part of the county at the sources of Blue and Tomahawk creeks and covered four townships, including Olathe. Blair wrote that the Black Bob group did not divide the land into individual tracts, as was the American's custom. His band, being of limited intelligence, they preferred to retain their tribal organizations and customs and to hold their lands in common, he wrote.

Outside of Olathe, Black Bob Road is known as Lackman Road.

Published by The Olathe News - Sarah St. John, columnist.


Clairborne is named after Claire Osborne, the wife of R.R. Osborne, a well-known philanthropist. 
R.R. Osborne, a former banker, gave millions to institutions such as MidAmerica Nazarene University, TLC for Children and Families and the Olathe Medical Center.

Published by The Olathe News Sarah St. John, columnist.

Little Street

Little Street was named for Chauncey Little. 

Chauncey had his office on the second floor of the building at the southwest corner of Park and Cherry. The bathroom was at the end of the hallway, and the window looked out onto the alley. One day Chauncey Little stepped into the Olathe Mirror office and asked if he could borrow a broom and a dustpan. Seems Chauncey had accidentally broken the window of the bathroom and the glass had fallen onto the alley below. Chauncey swept up the glass shards while a bemused on-looker, shaking his head, said that if Chauncey had admitted his responsibility, no one would ever have known who was responsible for the destruction.

Published by The Olathe News Max Evans, columnist.

Lone Elm Road

Lone Elm Road, also known as Parker and Kansas Highway 7, was named for one very specific tree. 
Weary travelers on the Oregon and California Trails and traders on the Santa Fe Trail stopped to camp in a grove of elm trees where a spring provided quality grazing for livestock. So many people stopped at the campground that they cut down all the trees for firewood; all but one elm tree.

What was once known as Round Grove Campground was renamed Lone Elm Campground in 1844.

The sole tree amid the otherwise empty prairie was recognizable to many pioneers who stopped in Olathe on their way west.

The County, state legislature and Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated the marker at the campground in 1906.

The marker now sits in front of the Johnson County Courthouse.

Published by The Olathe News, Sarah St. John, columnist.

Mur-Len Road

Mur-Len Road is named after Owen DeMurrell Crump and his wife, Helen Louise Crump.

The street name is the first part of Murrell and the last part of Helen.

This street name should always be hyphenated.

Parker Street

Parker Street is named in honor of a local lawyer elected to the state senate in 1892. 
Before he represented the relatively new Olathe area at the state capital, J.W. Parker traveled to the national capital in Washington, D.C. to participate in litigation over a land dispute involving the Black Bob Indian reservation.

In his 1915 book, A History of Johnson County Kansas, Ed Blair does not indicate whether Parker represented the plaintiff or the defendant.

Parker Street is the portion of K-7 that runs through Olathe.

Published by The Olathe News Sarah St. John, columnist.

Santa Fe Street

Santa Fe Street bears the name of a trail that ran from central Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico beginning in the 1820s.

The trail passed through Olathe and served as a major trade route.

Emigrants also took the trail to Olathe to catch one of the other trails that branched off here, the California and Oregon trails.

The Santa Fe Trail roughly followed modern day I-35 from Kansas City to Olathe.

Published by The Olathe News Sarah St. John, columnist.

Sheridan Street

Sheridan Street is the namesake of one of Olathe's original settlers. 
Immigrants from Ireland, Patrick Sheridan and his wife Margaret built a log cabin in Olathe in 1869.
They eventually owned 127 acres in the city and had seven children.

Patrick Sheridan died in a railroad accident in 1909.

Ed Blair described the Sheridan couple in his 1915 book, A History of Johnson County Kansas.

Sheridan Street is also known as 143rd Street in parts of the city.

Published by The Olathe News Sarah St. John, columnist.

Strang Line Road

Strang Line Road was once the route of the world's first self-propelled, gas-electric vehicle. 
Developed by W.B. Strang, a New York native who later settled near Olathe, the trolley-like vehicle ran on about 25 miles of track from Kansas City to Olathe with stops in Southridge, Overland Park, and Lenexa beginning in June 1907.

The system was called an interurban railroad.

The Olathe Centennial program of 1957, Arrows and Atoms: A Historical Album of Olathe, Kansas, described the line in its heyday.

During its early years, the Strang Line did a thriving business.

Traffic in farm products was good, hundreds of farm youths commuted to jobs and business schools in Kansas City, housewives made Saturday shopping trips to the city, and property owners rode the line to the county seat to pay their taxes.

The line's last run was in 1940. 

Strang Line Road now intersects one of Olathe's most bustling commercial centers at 119th Street. 

Published by The Olathe News Sarah St. John, columnist.

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