Some street names seem to appear in almost every community. Streets such as Main, Central, Second, Third and so forth are not unique to any particular city. Then there are streets named for flowers, trees, animals, etc. Again, these are not necessarily specific to a community.
In Fairborn, not far from Broad Street are those streets named for trees. A majority are located in the portion of the city which was once called Fairfield. These are Ash, Cedar, Elder, Cypress, Pine, Spruce, Walnut, Poplar, Hawthorne, Redbud, Hemlock, Fig, Ebony, Magnolia, Ironwood and Beech.
Then, there are the streets/roads named because they are routes between two cities such as Yellow Springs-Fairfield, Dayton-Fairfield, Dayton Ave. or Xenia Ave.
However, in some communities, streets are named for a particular individual, designed to honor a citizen who has made an impact on the community. Sometimes, after a period of years, those names became commonplace and the individual for whom the street was named might have been forgotten.
The City of Fairborn has a number of streets which were named in honor of individuals or families which have made an impact on the community.
Greene Street is probably the most obvious. Fairborn is located in Greene County and Greene County was named in honor of a Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene.
Former US Presidents are recognized and remembered with these street names: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln and Grant.
Dellinger Drive was named for Harry Dellinger, the first city manager while Lohnes Drive was named for Edward Lohnes, and executive of M&M Federal Savings and Loan. Van Tress Drive was another street named for one of the directors of that institution.
Property originally owned by the Gheen family was sold to Armand Archer ad Paul Morris who developed the site into a residential area. Archer Drive and Morris Drive recall those developers. And, there was a street called Gheen as well, but because the street name sounded similar to Greene, the residents petitioned to have the name changed. That street is now Royal Street.
Ira Kneisly was honored to have Kneisly Drive named for the former councilman of Osborn and Fairfield.
The man who had the honor of serving as the last mayor of Osborn and then as the first mayor of the new Fairborn, Ben Swigart, was honored with Swigart Street. Ralph Routzong (Routzong Drive) was also a former mayor of Fairborn and Hoak Drive is named for former Mayor and business owner Daniel W. Hoak.
Schneider Drive is so named for a woman who ran a very successful real estate business and developed homes in the area. Vera Schneider was a philanthropist who enjoyed sharing her accumulated wealth with many worthwhile projects including an entire wing, also named in her honor, at Greene Memorial Hospital.
Other developers include Lee Bonomo (Bonomo Drive and Bonomo Plaza). Don Duncan (Duncan Drive) was a long-time councilman. Bowman Drive is named for another developer, Jack Bowman.
John Zimmer originally owned the land which later was developed for residential use. The Zimmer family settled in Bath Township in the early 1800s where they constructed and lived in the first log house constructed. The property was a portion of a 1,000 acre land grant. Zimmer Drive remains a tribute to this early family.
The father of James Calvin Alshire was hired to pave one of the newer streets in the city, which at the time of construction was unnamed. The City was so pleased with the work done by Mr. Alshire; he was invited to suggest a name for the new street. He decided to honor his son James by suggesting the name James Drive.
William Cozad was one of the earliest settlers in the area. He platted the village of Fairfield and sold the property to prospective citizens. Cozad Drive is named in his honor. It is said that it was he who selected the name “Fairfield” for the new village he had organized.
Kauffman Avenue was named in honor of Oscar B. Kauffman who was one of the original charter members of the First National Bank of Osborn established in 1910. Later the institution was moved to Fairborn where it became the First National Bank of Fairborn.
Harry Kendig (Kendig Road) was the secretary of the Osborn Removal Board when the houses in the village of Osborn were moved one by one to a site adjacent to Fairfield. In addition, he owned a department store in Osborn and later served on the board of directors of the First National Bank of Fairborn.
Howard Young (Young Drive) was a long-time Bath Township trustee who owned a portion of the land.
As more and more families took up residence in the area, finding names for the new streets was sometimes a challenge but it seems to always appropriate to honor an individual or a family which has contributed to the welfare of the community.
Joan Baxter is a Greene County resident and long-time historical columnist.