Origins of Names for Places in White Plains

What’s in a name? How does a place get its name? Names are used for identification or as a point of reference. Having different names for places helps distinguish the differences between them.

Many of the first roads in White Plains were referred to on maps as to where they would lead. “The Road to Rye,” for example, referred to the former Indian trail that the first settlers used to get to the area. Today, the street is North Street.

As White Plains grew, so did the number of streets. Many roads were added and given names. At times, the names would change though this rarely happens today. Name changes require city government approval. A common trend, though is giving a street a secondary name. Signs for these sections are blue and are hung above the green signs designated for the entire street. Many of these blue signs honor people who have made major contributions to the city.

Many places in the city were named after former residents. Other names relate to the city’s beginnings before and after the Colonial period. Many places have names connected to the American Revolution and the Battle of White Plains. A number of places were named for US Presidents. A few have Native American roots while others are named after geographical features. Then there are the unusual ones like those named after horses.

White Plains’ Library website now has an interactive map of city giving origins for streets.

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