It is more than two years since I had written a post about street names - the overabundance of homage to politicians among them and names that change at the whim of people in power or because of changing politics and local sensibilities. I find road names a fascinating subject and take note of them, always looking for instances where someone had the imagination to stray off the beaten path of dedicating every public street and building to wealth, power and patriotism.
A few weeks ago I spent a couple of days in Galveston with a friend. Close to where we were staying is a bridge that leads to the city of Freeport which lies quietly to the south of Galveston Island, its more glamorous, arty and historic neighbor. I do not know much about Freeport except that it is an industrial sea-side town where Dow Corning has a large chemical plant. Almost eight years ago, I had passed through Freeport on my way to Galveston via a circuitous scenic route that my husband had insisted on taking. I noted at that time with some surprise that one of the streets we passed was named Chlorine Road. I was reminded of that odd street name and mentioned it to my friend. She informed me that the streets of Freeport where the Dow plant is located are marked by many such chemical names. A search brought up a google map of the area which indeed shows streets bearing names such as Tin, Nickel, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Benzine, Glycol, Butane and Electric.
Neighborhoods within cities often follow a central theme in naming their streets - trees, universities, presidents, marine culture etc. The streets in my own subdivision which is not on the sea but contains several lakes, bear aquatic names; streets like Jetty Circle, Shoreline Drive, Midstream Street, Westshore Lane, Harborview Court etc. But rarely have I seen the essential ingredients of a particular business used in street names. Are there more out there? At hospital complexes, in Silicon Valley or other places dedicated to a specialized pursuit?
Note: This post was originally published in December of 2007. Recently a friend was talking about road names on Facebook and I was reminded of Chlorine Road and similar topics we have discussed here before.
After six and a half years, some of us are not posting with the same frequency as the early days of the blog. We used to write a lot and often. Rather than leave the front page idling for long periods, I have decided to bring some of the old posts to the front from time to time. These may be familiar to some but others new to the blog, including some of our own writers, have not seen them. I request the older A.B. authors (Sujatha, Dean) to do the same with some of their posts that are more than three years old, especially those that generated a lively discussion. Choose from non-time sensitive posts (ignore politics, mostly) of cultural nature that are often fun to read and re-read.