A Road by any Other Name

Have you ever thought about where the name of the street you live on came from? I’m not talking about the easy ones like Elm, Maple and Main, but some of the others not so much.

Some are pretty obvious, like the above. Main St. is the street, in the center of town where all the businesses are. Unless you live in the town of Auburn, MA. Auburn’s Main Street is on the very edge of town, near the border with Worcester, it’s about one block long and there is nothing on it.

the same goes for Elm St. Although there isn’t an elm tree to be found for miles, at one time it was loaded with the. There is a Chestnut Street but I can’t say if there were ever any Chestnut trees on it. I do remember some on Everett Street though.

You would think some others would also be pretty easy to figure out. In my home town of Southbridge, we have North St, South St.. and West St, but no East St. The thing that bothers me is West St runs north and south, although at least it is on the west side of town. South St runs east and west and North St? Well this is smack in the middle of town and also runs east/west.

There are lots of streets named after some of the first settlers in town. Deneson Drive, Fisk St, and Marcy Street are three I can think of. There are streets named after some of the more well-to-do and famous citizens who helped the town grow, Marcy, Dresser, Hartwell, Paige, Bruce and Cathy Lanes. Who were Bruce and Cathy? Beats the heck out of me. Yet there is no Amidon St, Rd, Ave, Hill or anything. This was one of the most well-known families and successful families in town during the late 19th and early 20th century. The same goes for the Wells family. Not a one.

At least here in Southbridge most of the street names are pretty logical and with a little studying of local history you can figure out the origins. But in some towns, not so much.

When I was driving around delivering for various couriers I remember delivering to Town Moderator Way. I don’t remember exactly what Massachusetts town this was in, but I asked the person I was delivering to how the name came about. (This was a new housing development) What I was told was the town wanted to name it after the long time town moderator, but he wouldn’t let them, so they just called it Town Moderator Way. Now every town moderator can claim it as their street.

One thing I have decided about all this though, that’s I never want to see a road, highway, park, school, bridge, or anything else with my name on it. That will mean I’m probably dead.

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