In 1972, Oakland renamed its streets to honor its founding families. In this three-part series, we examine the people whose names are immortalized in the town’s addresses.
When the town of Oakland was platted in 1886, all of the streets were mapped out in an area of roughly 10 square blocks. They were assigned numbers, and they remained that way until the Oakland Town Commission in 1972 decided to rename the streets to recognize early settlers, longtime families and elected officials.
The north-south roads were changed from First Street to Starr Street; Second to Brock; Third, Arrington; Fourth, Tubb; Fifth, Cross; Sixth, Daniels; Seventh, Walker; Eighth, Nixon; Ninth, Pollard; and 10th, Jefferson.
Who are the people behind the names?
The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation has in its collection files of many of West Orange County’s families past and present, and much of this information came from the history center.
STARR STREET, formerly First Street —Sheriff S. Davis “Dave” Starr was born in Savannah around 1900 but settled in Oakland when he married Doris Smith, daughter of Oakland’s Robert L. and Annie Smith. They lived in the house in which she was born, one her grandfather purchased from Peter Demens, founder of the Orange Belt Railway Company. Starr served in the U.S. Coast Guard during WWII then worked for Roquemore Oil. Starr was a widely known Orange County sheriff from 1948-64 and served a short time as Oakland’s marshal. He was an elder in the Oakland Presbyterian Church, and the couple lived across the street from it. His obituary stated he “took obvious enjoyment in dressing in western finery, strapping on guns and swinging into the saddle of a favorite palomino to lead parades.”
BROCK STREET, formerly Second Street — James Orlando Brock had extensive property in Oakland and the surrounding area. He was proprietor of Oakland’s grocery store in 1888, and he and his family, including wife Judith Perkins and their five children, were involved in the grocery business in the town for more than 25 years. The family lived above the store for several years before building a home. The youngest son, Larry Jason, continued the business for 10 years after his father died in 1929. He married Jessie Niblack, the beloved longtime teacher and principal at Winter Garden Elementary School. The J.O. Brock building was built on Tubb Street after the fire of 1912 by Jim Robinson. In later years it became known as the Blue Building. It was condemned by Orange County and torn down in 2000.
ARRINGTON STREET, formerly Third Street — W.S. “Bill” Arrington came to Oakland in 1940 to work at the fertilizer plant of South Lake Apopka Citrus Growers Association just east of Lakeview Middle School. He later took charge of the plant and eventually became general manager of SLACGA, retiring in 1980. Arrington was Oakland’s town clerk for many years and served on the Town Commission in the 1960s and ’70s. He was a deacon in the Oakland Presbyterian Church, as were many Oakland men at that time. He was a West Orange Memorial Hospital trustee, a member of the Winter Garden Rotary Club and a founding member of the West Orange Country Club.
TUBB STREET, formerly Fourth Street — Grover Cleveland Tubb moved to Oakland in 1921 and was appointed deputy clerk — and a month later, the clerk — in 1928. Some records give his title as deputy marshal and marshal. When town funds were scarce the following year, his monthly salary was cut from $75 to $5 so he temporarily worked at the Orlando airport and in a citrus packinghouse. He was at different times superintendent of the water department, the streets and parks department and sanitation; a volunteer fire chief; and the tax collector. He invested more than 50 years of service to the town, retiring when he was 90. He and his wife and seven children lived for decades in a house behind Town Hall. The Grover Cleveland Tubb Fountain was dedicated in the center of town in 1977.
CROSS STREET, formerly Fifth Street — Fred Lykes Cross was one of 10 children of early Oakland farmer and citrus grower Fairfax Cross. Fred was a toddler when his family moved to the town in 1890. He served four terms on the Oakland Town Commission from 1957-65 and was a three-term mayor in the late 1960s. While mayor, Cross oversaw improvements to the town’s water system. A 90-year resident of Oakland, Fred Cross died in 1991 at age 92. He is buried at the Oakland Cemetery.
DANIELS STREET, formerly Sixth Street — George J. Daniels was a citrus businessman and moved to the area from Georgia. He was a mayor (1949 and 1956-59) and a town commissioner for 20 years. He was a National Guard veteran of World War II. He served as a deacon in the Oakland Presbyterian Church and died in 2001.
WALKER STREET, formerly Seventh Street — Most likely, this street was named for James W. and Estelle Walker, some of Oakland’s earliest settlers. They met in the town’s infancy when he arrived from Savannah to work on the railroad. Once the railroad was completed, he went to work for a prominent Oakland family. He died at age 36 in the flu epidemic of 1918 and is buried in the Oakland African-American Historic Cemetery.
NIXON STREET, formerly Eighth Street — William V. Nixon came to Oakland in 1946 to teach in the black school. He was elected Oakland’s first black town commissioner in 1971 after retiring from the public school system. He was a World War II veteran. In recognition of 18 years of service to the Oakland community as commissioner, vice mayor and, on occasion, acting mayor, Nixon, affectionately known as “The Professor,” was honored with his own day, William V. Nixon Day, in January 1990.
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POLLARD STREET, formerly Ninth Street — Robert and Jean Pollard were among the first black people to settle in Oakland. They were farmers and owned a large amount of property on what is now Pollard Street. A nearby park is named for the family, as well. A son, Eugene, cared for the family land after his parents’ passing and owned small apartments that he rented out.
JEFFERSON STREET, formerly 10th Street — Juncie Jefferson was born around 1883 in North Carolina and later moved to Oakland and raised several sons and daughters with her husband, James Jefferson. One of the sons later was named a trustee of the town’s black cemetery, now called Oakland African-American Historic Cemetery.