Behind the Victory Flagpole–Camden’s alphabet streets


At one time the streets of Minneapolis had entirely different names. This all changed in 1873 subsequent to the union of St. Anthony and Minneapolis. It was decided North Minneapolis streets should be arranged alphabetically and named after famous people. Starting with A, the first street to be named was Aldrich.

So, who was this man? Thomas Bailey Aldrich was born on November 11, 1836 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He became a poet, short story writer and editor.

Even though he was only 13 when he left school, he had a talent for writing and soon contributed to newspapers and magazines. He drew from his own experiences as a child to write the classic children’s novel The Story of a Bad Boy.

While young, his family moved to New Orleans, but after 10 years was sent back to Portsmouth to prepare for college. But when his father died in 1849,

Aldrich was compelled to abandon the idea of college, so at age 18 he entered his uncle’s business office in New York City. Here he soon became a constant contributor to newspapers and magazines.

From 1856 to 1859 Aldrich was on the staff of the Home Journal. During the Civil War he was the editor of the New York Illustrated News. In 1865 Aldrich returned to New England where he was the editor in Boston for 10 years for Ticknor and Fields, who produced an eclectic weekly. Following that, he was editor of the Atlantic Monthly.

Meanwhile he continued his private writing, both in prose and verse, his talent being many-sided. His successive volumes of verse showed him to be a poet of lyrical skill.

Not too much is known about Aldrich’s private life excepting that he was married and had two sons. He also had two homes. His main home, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire was called the Thomas Bailey House. It was huge, rectangular and made of clapboard (wood). It was located close to the street and had many windows.

The second house was located at 147 Park Avenue, Saranac Lake, New York. It was called “The Porcupine” because it had so many good points. This house was given to one son. After being married for a year, son Charles was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Because the house had many open air porches, it seemed a perfect place to recuperate.

This is one of Aldrich’s favorite quotes: “To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent — that is the triumph over old age.” He passed away March 19, 1907.