Palmer St.  
Named For: Nathan B. Palmer, Indiana state treasurer; Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives

Nathan Palmer owned and developed much of the land in the area around present day Palmer Street.   He was one of the most prominent Indianapolis and state citizens of his time.

He was born in 1790 in Stonington, Connecticut August 27, 1790.  At 10, his father died and his mother moved to New York for a short time and then moved to Pennsylvania in 1812.  Around the same time, he met and married Chloe Sacket. By 1820, He had moved to Jefferson County, Indiana, where he began his political career.  He was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives serving from 1825 to 1826, 1828 to 1829 and 1832 to 1834, when he served as speaker.

He was a presidential elector for Indiana in 1832 and then was elected Indiana State Treasurer, serving from 1834 to 1841, succeeding Samuel Merrill.

While serving as treasurer, he moved to Indianapolis where he solidified his reputation as prominent business leader and politician. He ran for Congress representing the Indianapolis area in 1841, but lost to former Governor David Wallace.  He later served as chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party.

In Indianapolis, he was known for building and operating the Palmer House, one of the city’s finest hotels, from 1844 to 1851 and owned several other buildings around the city.  He also was one of the principal builders of the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad, which was connected to the city in October 1847.  He would late serve as canal commissioner, and an Indianapolis city councilman and in other minor offices.

Photos Courtesy Sergio Bennett

2 responses to “What’s in a Name: Palmer Street”

  1. Jim says:

    Wow, with accomplishments like that, you’d think he’d get a bigger street.

    That first photo — I’m struggling to imagine you shimmying up a utility pole for that view, but goldanged if I can’t figure out another way to do it!

  2. basil berchekas jr says:

    Apparently Palmer Street is located on the South Side (I think the spires of Sacred Heart are in the background in the photo). Being a land owner on the South Side, the new J M & I RR would have gotten his interest as a land owner as well as a citizen promoting Indianapolis and Indiana…the Sullivans, the Merrills, the Palmers, the Morris families, all CAME to Indianapolis in its formative years…

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