What is the origin of the abbreviation St. for Street?

Why did an address such as

123 Fake Street


123 Fake St.


This question is related to a history stackexchange question about the observed historical trend in US print newspaper to use St. instead of Street when printing addresses.

It appears, according to one answer on the history question that the following curious facts arise

  1. There does appear to be some historical trend from one form to another in american newspaper print (Street to St)
  2. The shortening from Street to St. only saves 2 symbols in print, rising to the theory that it is related to when listing of people and their addresses became common ( e.g. first phonebooks)
  3. The US Postal Service apparently officially requires/prefers the abbreviation (Section 211 of USPS Publication 28)
  • 1
    This seems like a very intuitive abbreviation. What is there not to get?
    – Jim
    Jul 14, 2020 at 5:20
  • Are you more interested in "when" (possibly answerable) or "why" (probably not definitively answerable) the abbreviation gained popularity?
    – The Photon
    Jul 14, 2020 at 5:35
  • FWIW, the postal service preference has to do with the use of optical character recognition (OCR) for mail routing, which began only in the 1980's or so. So it's probably not related to the earliest uses of "St." as an abbreviation for "street".
    – The Photon
    Jul 14, 2020 at 5:37
  • 1
    " only saves 2 symbols in print". It's early here, but the symbols r, e, e and t seem to be replaced by a full stop. That seems to save 3 symbols, plus a replacement of a standard-width e with a very narrow period, so space-wise it saves almost 4 symbols width?
    – oerkelens
    Jul 14, 2020 at 6:29
  • @oerkelens A more interesting question is why "road" is shortened to "rd." since that only saves one character, This is even odder when you think that "ave." is as long and "road" and "cresc." is as long as "street" when the dots are counted and both of them are used rather than "av." and "cr." in many cases.
    – BoldBen
    Jul 14, 2020 at 11:50


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