Throughout the years this unpaved street changed names numerous times from Clyde Alley to Coal Chute Alley to Sowell Avenue to Sowell Alley to Sowell Street. I had assumed that Coal Chute Alley was in reference to the Glenn Coal Company at the top of the street next to the railroad tracks, but the name pre-dates the company. Before the area was assigned house numbers, numerous residents were listed as railroad hands, and I assume the name was then in reference to coal being used to power the trains. There are census records of Sowells living in the area as early as 1880, although Sanborn maps don't include this neighborhood until much later. Another prominant last name in this neighborhood is Bailey, of which the street directly west is named for. At one point in time Sowell Alley extended much further south and created a loop with Bailey's Alley. The entire neighborhood was cut in half with the building of 147.