Back in 1918 -- ninety years ago -- about half a dozen streets in St. Louis were renamed from "German" names to "American" names due to anti-German sentiments during World War I.
The St. Louis Street Index compiled by the St. Louis Public Library lists these cases, and the history behind many other street names, in great detail.
It's been ninety years. Why can't we change some of these names back? I'm not saying that the WWI heroes aren't worth memorializing; but the previous names also reflect on a significant portion of our local heritage that's also worth remembering.
Cecil Place was originally Hapsburger Avenue, renamed in 1918 for Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, League of Nations co-founder.
Enright Avenue was, in part, originally named Von Versen Avenue, in honor of Alice Von Verson, a daughter of Eliza Clemens who laid out an early subdivision in that area. It was renamed in 1918 for Jack Enright, one of the first Americans killed in World War I.
Gresham Avenue was at first called Kaiser Street, but was renamed in 1918 for one of the first soldiers killed in World War I.
Pershing Avenue was named Berlin Avenue, but was renamed in 1918 for General John J. Pershing.
Providence Place was at first called Knapstein Place, but was renamed in 1918.
Many people know about the Pershing re-naming, but few know about the other streets, probably because (other than Enright, a pretty well-known street in its own right) they are fairly short, residential streets in South St. Louis.