Stories passed down the generations by word of mouth often have some “grain of truth,” and so the naming of Ivanhoe is one such story.
The historical record from Mrs Lena (Charlie) Wayland as published in the Ivanhoe Times in 1950, indicates our founding fathers had evidently read or heard about Sir Walter Scott’s great historical novel Ivanhoe for they not only gave the new town that name, but also gave as street names those of the prominent characters in the story and used only the names of the noblemen and noblewomen such as Rowena, Rebecca, Rotherwood, Norman, Saxon, etc.
Community folklore, on the other hand, indicates a young woman was traveling by train and reading the Ivanhoe novel. When the train stopped here, the city name was being debated by the village incorporators. The young woman suggested the name Ivanhoe, and the rest, as it is said, is history.
According to one resident, the name Storybook Town was first heard in 1971. An exchange student from Uganda came to Ivanhoe and upon learning that Ivanhoe was named after the novel, had commented, “Oh yes, the Storybook Town.” The descriptive name stayed as part of Ivanhoe and its history.
-Taken from the Ivanhoe Centennial book