Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Columbia's poetical street names

"Oh, you must live in Columbia!" is the title of an entertaining and very informative book, and a response to hearing one of many odd street names.  Rouse needed new names for a thousand streets, and the book goes into detail of how the names were chosen. And what names!  Topbranch Lane, Besthold Garth, Barefoot Boy, Fruitgift Place and so many more.

The names?  Historical homes - Oakland Mills Road, Oak Hall Lane, and Grey Rock Drive. Historical people - Gateway Center inventors: Thomas Edison, Samuel Morse.  Art works from museums, Whistler, Wyeth and Homer. ...

Other historic homes, such as Dorsey Hall became names of areas.  The streets in this early neighborhood are mainly from writings by Oliver Wendall Holmes. "Maydew" became Maydew Mews Way, "old dragoons" to Old Dragon Path, "and yellow kingcups shine" (a flower) changed into Kingscup Court.

Most were American poets, many prominent, but someone unknown to me must have been THE favorite poet of the lady tasked to come up with the names - Robinson Jeffers.  Only two Brits - Alexander Pope and JRR Tolkien - odd, because when I moved to Ellicott City, I was told Columbia's street names were from Shakespeare (none are).

To learn more about other names check out -

Oh, you must live in Columbia! : the origins of place names in Columbia, Maryland.  By Missy Burke; Robin Emrich; Barbara Kellner.  Columbia, Maryland : Columbia Archives, ©2008. The book can be purchased HERE

©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber

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