Who’s In The Name?

We drive and walk on them every day. But, do we ever stop and think for whom are the streets of our cities are named? Some streets are named for people in our community or our nation who have made outstanding accomplishments to the betterment of our lives. Others are simply generic names, chosen by developers, or just names that sound good,fancy, or clever.

In the early 1900s, J.D. Smith, one of the Emerald City’s most wealthy businessmen and real estate owners, purchased a tract of land lying on what was then the western limits of the City of Dublin. Smith decided to name the streets in his subdivision for himself and his family members. So, he instructed the surveyor to lay out Beulah, Rosa, and Sallie as the north to south streets and John and even J.D. as the east to west streets. It goes without saying and I won’t say that these names just didn’t have that certain ring to them. Who would be proud of an address of 1101 J.D. Street? Some might think that it was a reference to the mega-millionaire J.D. Rockfeller. Without much adieu, the north to south streets were renamed Mimosa, Rosewood and West Drive. John Street was changed to Highland, which would later be extended further west and give rise to the name of a new subdivision by the name of Highland Woods at it’s western end. J.D. Street was eliminated and will be forever known as Woodrow Avenue as a permanent memorial to President Woodrow Wilson.

In the wave of sympathy following the death of Woodrow Wilson, the Dublin City Council granted the requests of Wilson’s admirers to name the street running out to the site of the Old Dublin Academy along what was called Academy Avenue. When the avenue’s residents complained, the council reversed its position.

Bellevue, or Bellview, Avenue first began to appear in public records in the mid 1880s. Before then, the dirt road was quaintly known as “The Old Hawkinsville Wagon Road.” But, take a look at the root words of the name. “Belle” is derived from the French word “beau” for beautiful. In the English language, “Belle” is defined as a beautiful woman. So, did the person who came up with the name of Bellevue mean “a view of a beautiful woman,” or just “a beautiful view.” Anyone who has ever seen the avenue, especially in it’s heyday, would tell you that Bellevue means “a beautiful view.”

New homes were erected on the southern side of Bellevue in the late 1890s and early 1900s in subdivisions known as “The New Dublin Subdivision” and “Bellevue Park.” The main artery of these subdivisions was originally known as Stanley Street, named in honor of Rollin Stanley, an early resident of the area. But, in the surge of nostalgia of the War Between The States in the 1890s and early 1900s, the city opted to rename Stanley Street to became Stonewall Street in honor of the iconic and beloved Confederate General, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson.

Calhoun Street was named for Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. Calhoun was an early advocate for State Rights, a cause which was a leading factor in the South’s withdrawal from the Union. Outler Street was originally named “Banker’s Avenue,” perhaps in honor of the bankers who lived in the upscale neighborhood. Ramsey Street, which should be correctly spelled “Ramsay Street,” was named in honor of Col. W.S. Ramsay, who built his home on the site of the South Atlantic ACA, in the 1870s. Coney Street was named for Joel Coney, a prominent resident of Dublin in the latter half of the 1800s.

On the north side of Bellevue was the farm of John T. Duncan. Duncan Street was named for this former sheriff and Judge of the Court of Ordinary, who was one of Dublin’s most influential and loved citizens.

Many streets are named for trees and rightfully so. Trees are an integral part of our community’s heritage and should be treasured as such. Hopefully there will be no nightmares on Elm Street. Though some postmen may suffer from the horrors of deciding which Elm Street the letter is supposed to go to. In point of fact, there is a North Elm Street and a South Elm Street in Dublin. In East Dublin however, there are two separate Elm Streets. One is two blocks north of Central Drive between Buckeye Road and Jordan Street, which by the way, used the be the Wrightsville Highway. The other Elm Street lies at the southern end of the town off Oakwood Drive.

When the commander of the United States Naval Hospital in Dublin began to lay out streets on the hospital grounds, he directed that the they be named for medical department personnel killed in action during the war. Gendreau Circle was named for Capt. Elphege A.M. Gendreau of San Francisco, who was killed in combat in the South Pacific. Blackwood Drive was named in memory of James D. Blackwood, of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, and senior medical officer of the "U.S.S. Vincennes." Johnson Drive and Alexander Drive were named in memory of Cmdr. Samuel E. Johnson, of Clinton, Alabama, and Lt. Cmdr. Hugh R. Alexander, of Belleville, Pennsylvania and the U.S.S. Arizona, who were killed at Pearl Harbor. Lt. Cmdr. Edward Crowley of San Francisco had Crowley Avenue named in his memory after he was killed in the Solomon Islands. Neff Place was named in honor of Lt. Cmdr. James Neff, Senior Medical Officer of the cruiser "U.S.S. Juneau." Trojakowski Avenue and Morrow Place were named in honor of W.C. Trojakowski, of Schenectady, N.Y., and Lt. Junior Grade Edna O. Morrow, of Pasadena, Calf., who were killed in airplane crashes. The last street, Evans Avenue, was named in honor of Lt. Cmdr. Edward E. Evans, of San Francisco, who was killed in the Solomon Islands in December of 1942.

How many of you know where Jarondon Drive is? Jarondon Drive is a short street which branches off the southern end of Kellam Road. It runs to the southwest to the shops of Dixie Metal. The shop’s owner Woody Payne named the street leading to his business by contracting parts of the names of his children Jana Bradshaw, Rhonda Hudson and Weldon Payne.

Speaking of short streets, the shortest street in Dublin is Brantley Street. Brantley Street is that short street that runs along the eastern edge of the Piggly Wiggly Store on Bellevue Avenue. The street was named for C.W. Brantley, whose gothic-like home occupied the store site for many years until it was razed in the early 1960s. The longest street in the city, counting both the northern and southern legs is of course, Jefferson Street.