DENVER (KDVR) — Denver has a lot of streets, and you may have noticed they have some pretty unique names.

If you live in the metro, you have likely been down a number of these streets thousands of times. But have you ever wondered how, say, Colfax Avenue or Speer Boulevard got their names?

Native American tribes

The series of street names that begins west of Broadway at Acoma Street are primarily named after Native American tribes.

Among these streets are the names of well-known peoples such as the Cherokee, the Delaware, the Navajo and the Seminole.

There are exceptions to the naming convention — west of Inca Street is Santa Fe Drive, which, as you can guess, was not named after a Native American tribe.

Arapahoe Street downtown is not part of this grouping of streets but was named to honor the Arapaho people.

Historic people

Several streets are named after historic people, many of whom hold historic significance to Denver or Colorado. While there are countless streets named after notable people, here are just a few:

  • Colfax Avenue: Schuyler Colfax, 19th Century politician who served as vice president from 1869-1873
  • Evans Avenue: John Evans, governor of the territory of Colorado from 1862-1865
  • Larimer Street: William Larimer Jr., founder of Denver
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard: Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Speer Boulevard: Robert W. Speer, mayor of Denver from 1904-1912
  • Wynkoop Street: Edward W. Wynkoop, one of the founders of Denver


Unsurprisingly, you’ll find these higher education-themed street names near the University of Denver:

  • Harvard Avenue: Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Yale Avenue: Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Cornell Avenue: Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
  • Dartmouth Avenue: Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire
  • Amherst Avenue: Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts

Other places

A number of streets are named after places, with many state names being represented.

Colorado, of course, is no exception, and Denver actually liked the name so much it used it twice: Colorado Boulevard, which runs north to south, and Colorado Avenue, which runs east to west. Thankfully, the two barely avoid meeting in an intersection because of Interstate 25.

There are also other state names: Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky and Virginia avenues run east to west.