The U.S. Census tracks information about roads and street names in the country. As of the last census in 2020, there are are over a million roads in the United States. The most common street name? “Park” (about 9,640) and in second place, “Second” (about 8,232). However, the longest street name in the U.S. is 38 characters long: “Jean Baptiste Point du Sable Lake Shore Drive” located in Chicago, Illinois.
This long street name just entered the record books on June 25, 2021 (as of this writing, even Google Maps has not been updated) when the Chicago city council voted to change the city’s iconic lakeside roadway from “Lake Shore Drive” to “Jean Baptiste Point du Sable Lake Shore Drive,” to honor Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (1745-1818), a trader of African descent who is considered the first non-Indigenous settler of Chicago. (Incidentally, Pointe de Sable is French for “sand point.”) It wasn’t until the 1850s when Point du Sable was finally recognized as the true “Founder of Chicago,” displacing a Scots-Irish trader named John Kenzie who had purchased Point du Sable’s home and was mistakenly recognized as the founder of Chicago. However, it took almost a century before Point du Sable would be officially honored via tangible memorials — there are now various locations in the city named after him, including a park, harbor, museum, high school, and bridge, in addition to the aforementioned road. Little is known about his early life, but historians have found primary sources that describe Point Du Sable as “handsome” and “well-educated.” In 1788 he married a Potawatomi woman, named Kitihawa, and had two children: a daughter (Susanne) and son (Jean). In 1913, he sold his home and moved to St. Charles, Missouri and operated a ferry business until his death in 1818.
Although it doesn’t have a fascinating historical story behind it, the second longest street name is 34 characters long: “Northeast Kentucky Industrial Parkway” located in Greenup, Kentucky.
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For further reading: All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge by Kee Malesky, Wiley (2010).