Question #14 ~ Names and Places

by Joseph Gangemi

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Question #14 ~ Names and Places

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:06 am

Gangemi writes, “At the time I was too unseasoned a traveler to appreciate it, but I’ve since come to understand that something secret and true about a city’s nature resides in place-names, and so one’s best introduction to an unfamiliar town lies simply in listening.”

What can you tell about a town or a city from the street names?



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Gilbert's Girl
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:20 am

Probably depends where you are but most are not randomly chosen, but as to what the spirit of the city/town or whatever can be gleaned from them, I have never thought of it and thinking about it doesn't help either :lol:

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Unread postby SamIam » Tue Feb 14, 2006 11:17 am

Gilbert's Girl wrote:Probably depends where you are but most are not randomly chosen, but as to what the spirit of the city/town or whatever can be gleaned from them, I have never thought of it and thinking about it doesn't help either :lol:


Well, GG sometimes the streets are named after some famous person or other but yeah the spirit of the city makes sense.
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Unread postby lumineuse » Tue Feb 14, 2006 11:42 am

I don't know how much stock you can put in that. We have a numerous streets and parks in our town named for famous people, both historically and locally. But there are some other towns in Pennsylvania with some really strange names, that I wouldn't want to assign too deep a meaning to. Like Intercourse.... :-O
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:01 pm

I think the nearest town where I live they are what you could call faceless names, High Street, Market Street, Castle Street or named after the churches that are on them. On the other hand I suppose the local street names where I live are all named after trees, more in keeping with the surroundings perhaps.

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Tue Feb 14, 2006 2:25 pm

In my town I've always had the impression that the early founders must have been rather lazy and uncreative as most of our streets are state's names. I always envy my friends when I write Christmas cards to lovely locations like Country Forest Drive, Clovernook Lane, Evergreen Park Drive, ... We live by a lovely woods on a beautiful bay, and the name of our street is KANSAS!! :mad:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Feb 14, 2006 2:32 pm

Betty Sue, some are definitely more creative than others and sometimes you wonder what were they thinking? :perplexed:

Since Austin is the capitalof Texas we have lots of streets named after famous Texans. In downtown Austin all the streets that run east/west are named after Texas rivers. They are in geographical order from north to south, so if you are familiar with the rivers you don't get lost downtown! :lol: Out where I live there is a lake so we have lots of nautical themed street names. A friend of mine where we used to live was a home builder and he named the streets of his new development after family members so they all have streets named after them now.
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Unread postby fansmom » Tue Feb 14, 2006 2:46 pm

I would generally say that the comment about place names isn't true, but I can immediately think of two places nearby that it is true.

Near my home is a development of luxury homes on streets that have subtle Beatles names. Quarrymen, Starkey, Silver Hammer (ok, that's not so subtle), Abbey, Epstein, etc. (Yes, the street signs are stolen frequently.) Homes built for rich baby boomers by baby boomers.

And of course, living near the nation's capitol; the streets in DC that aren't named for numbers or letters are named for states, and for historical ideals such as Independence.

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Unread postby Juniper » Tue Feb 14, 2006 2:55 pm

lumineuse wrote:I don't know how much stock you can put in that. We have a numerous streets and parks in our town named for famous people, both historically and locally. But there are some other towns in Pennsylvania with some really strange names, that I wouldn't want to assign too deep a meaning to. Like Intercourse.... :-O


Hey, I live near there..........Intercourse, Blue Ball, Gap, Bird-in Hand, Lititz (use your imagination here...) lol. Strange places in their own right.......;-)
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Unread postby fansmom » Tue Feb 14, 2006 3:27 pm

Juniper wrote: Hey, I live near there..........Intercourse, Blue Ball, Gap, Bird-in Hand, Lititz (use your imagination here...) lol. Strange places in their own right.......;-)
Why do I suddenly crave Lebanon bologna and shoo-fly pie? :eyebrow:

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Unread postby Juniper » Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:11 pm

fansmom wrote:
Juniper wrote: Hey, I live near there..........Intercourse, Blue Ball, Gap, Bird-in Hand, Lititz (use your imagination here...) lol. Strange places in their own right.......;-)
Why do I suddenly crave Lebanon bologna and shoo-fly pie? :eyebrow:


Do you crave horses and buggies, road apples and lots of chickens, too? lol ........ C'mon up, we'll eat our share of snitz pie! :cool:

Oh yeah, I forgot about Paradise too (now how could I forget about that???)
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Unread postby Charlene » Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:22 pm

Where are those signs located? Is a Quaker community? Seems like most communities have the same street names; every once in a while somebody will do an article on the tens of thousands of Main Streets, Broad Streets, etc.

My Dad and his father were builders and developers. Therefore, when they bought land, and developed the streets, etc., they could name them. Early on in the development phase of one neighborhood, my Dad named the streets after my sister and me, but they never got around to filing the paperwork, and another developer came through the adjacent parcel and renamed them else. LOL.

Sometimes, I get a kick out of reading names. My favorite street locally is Peep Toad Lane.

My family has a cottage located on a private road, which about 3 years ago got named...rumor has it, they asked a couple of people they could locate in the vicinity (probably in the dead of winter and probably somebody with a grudge), and they named the street "Sugar Shack Lane". I hate it; I am always embarrassed to have something directed there.

I also lived on a street in HI with the name of Puapoo...since the pronounce every letter it is pronounced "poo - a - poe - oh"; but everybody stateside would tease me and say I lived of poopoo street.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:46 pm

Those are some interesting names! :yikes: Peep Toad Lane.... :lol:
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Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Bix » Tue Feb 14, 2006 5:55 pm

Charlene wrote:Where are those signs located? Is a Quaker community?
I believe they are referring to town names in Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish country, Charlene.

I think Finch is right when he says the best way to learn about a new place is by listening to the natives - once you catch on to their regional dialect, that is! I moved to Boston when I was 29 and it was a whole 'nother world. All the English names - Worcester, Glouscester (sp?), etc. - that I had been mispronouncing as I read my Brontes and Jane Austen as a girl. :lol: But it doesn't take long to begin to get the feel of a place, although I don't think even to this day I knew how to pronounce Schuylkill until Finch filled me in. But then, I've only been to Philadelphia once.

fansmom, I love your Beatle-inspired subdivision streets!

DITHOT mentioned our river-named streets here in Austin, but she forgot to say we Austinites are notorious for mispronouncing names, especially Spanish ones, and then laughing at people who pronounce them correctly. Thus, the beautiful Guadalupe (should be approximately "gwad a LOOP ay") gets pronounced "gwad a LOOP" or worse, "GARD a loop". Or the nearby town of Manor, where Gilbert Grape was filmed, which everybody calls "MAY ner" around here.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:10 pm

Bix, there are also our German words that we like to make our own here in Texas like:

Greune (we pronounce Green) and Boerne (Brrr knee). The German settlers would probably have something to say about that!
:eyebrow:

I do think you can tell a lot about the heritage of a place when you look at the names of the older streets in an area. The suburbs seem to take on a life of their own often more grand sounding than they really are. No doubt named to make you want to buy a house. :-O
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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