Archives Photograph Collection

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Herman B Wells Avenue

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A February 5, 1971 letter from Herman B Wells to Bloomington Mayor John H. Hooker reads, in full: "I was away through much of January and only now have seen the newspaper account of your proposal to name a street after me. I sincerely appreciate your desire to do this but, I am sure that I do not deserve it. If it is to be, however, it should be some new small street somewhere rather than so important a street as 7th. Moreover, changing its name now, I fear, would be confusing. Regardless of the outcome, I do appreciate your generous suggestion." The January 6, 1972 edition of the Daily Herald-Telephone (Bloomington, Indiana) contains an article by Greg Dawson titled "7th Street Is Renamed 7th Street". The article reads, in full: " 'All's well that ends Wells', but not in the case of the avenue near Indiana University recently named Herman B Wells Avenue in honor of the IU chancellor. Former mayor John H. Hooker, in his last official act as mayor, ignored Wells' wishes to the contrary and named Seventh St. from College Ave. to Union St. Herman B Wells Avenue. Hooker used a proclamation to bestow the honor after the City Council - in accordance with the chancellor's wishes - abandoned a proposed city ordinance which would have named the avenue after Wells. At the time, Hooker's proclamation seemed incontrovertible, but officials in Mayor Frank McCloskey's administration found otherwise. They decided the proclamation was illegal and usurped one of the powers of the city council. So the signs were taken down, and once again Seventh St. is...Seventh St. 'After consulting with Chancellor Wells, and after deciding this was a function of the City Council, we decided to take the signs down,' said mayoral aide Tim Hodenfield this morning. 'What we did was in accordance with Chancellor Wells' wishes. He said he had made his views perfectly clear in a letter to the council, and that's why the council didn't act.' After learning of the City Council's proposed resolution last week, Wells said 'only time can be the judge of any claim I might have to an honor of this kind. 'Please do not think me insensitive to your warm regard or to the generous sentiment of wishing to afford me an honor which I hope that some day I may be judged worthy to receive.' Hooker, in his proclamation, said Wells 'as a student, professor, dean, president and chancellor of Indiana University, and as a distinguished and honored citizen, has continually demonstrated his special concern and love for the City of Bloomington and Indiana University.' The former mayor also noted Chancellor Wells' contribution to both the town and university, and identified Wells as a 'fundamental environmentalist'. Seventh St. is one of the primary tree-lined streets in Bloomington, and Hooker said 'trees and Herman B Wells are synonymous with the Bloomington Community.' Hodenfield said 11 Herman B Wells signs were erected during the last days of the Hooker administration and that six were torn down by souvenir hunters."

date taken:

1971 or 1972

copyright owner:

Indiana University

personal name:

Wells, Herman B

building name:

Student Building (1906)


Signs (Notices)





other place name:

Herman B Wells Avenue

other place name:

Eighth Street

other place name:

Fess Avenue




Wells, Herman B


Wells Ave.


Last updated: Friday, September 27, 2019 12:07:08
This collection presented by:
The IU Digital Library Program and Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records Management
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