Many of the names of the east-west streets in the city of Lansing are named after women.
And no one seems to know why – except for a man who knows just about everything about the town.
Gene Young, 90, is a lifelong resident of Lansing and was one of the original members of the Lansing City Council.
When the city became incorporated in 1959, Young said Council members decided in one meeting to re-name the east-west streets in town with names of women in alphabetical order beginning on the north end of town at what is now Eisenhower Road.
Abernathy Road was the former name of Eisenhower Road, he said.
“Somehow we decided not to change that and just left it Abernathy,” Young said.
According to Young, east-west streets were named Beth, Carol and Connie – ironically two names beginning with the letter “C.”
“Yeah, that was a mistake,” Young said.
Continuing south, the streets became Debra, Emile and Fern. Following alphabetical order, the next street would have begun with the letter “G” but no east-west street in that area of town begins with the letter “G,” according to information provided by Young.
Continuing south, the streets became Helen, Ida, J, Kay, Lois, Mary, Nina and Olive.
In between J Street and Kay Street is Kansas Avenue, which runs next to the Lansing Correctional Facility.
“For some reason, no one wanted to change that so we just skipped to the next street,” Young said. “We had many humorous discussions over these names. My wife always thought we named them after our old girlfriends. Not true.”
Olive Street was the last of the east-west streets named after women in that part of town.
“We ran out of east-west streets,” Young said. “That was the end of town in those days.”