Monday, December 10, 2007

An ode to Charlotte's roads

Who was W.T. Harris? Where was Sardis? What’s the Community House?

Turns out, lots of folks out there want to know more about how Charlotte’s oft-confusing roads got their names.

After I wrote Sunday explaining four examples of the area’s more colorful road names (including the three above), I’ve received a flood of inquiries on other local road names, from Tom Short to Margaret Wallace. I’m in the process of researching some of the explanations, and I plan to follow up soon.

I can use your input. What other roads’ names are you wondering about? Or, do you know a colorful story behind a road name in your area? Please post here or e-mail me.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this poem composed by reader Richard Quadrini, who was inspired to write it from his own experiences trying to find his way around Charlotte's roads:

YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE
Went out one day to make my way with mind and body sound
Full tank of gas and map in hand, to the eastside I was bound
But roads were bent and streets changed names, Queens Road went round and round
Turned this way once, then back and forth, getting lost I came to fear
So I asked a cop if he would stop and show a way more clear,
He shook his head and said instead, “You can't get there from here!!”

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the road names never change. They are about the only thing left in Charlotte that really tells the story of the city's history. I'm glad people are asking questions about the names, because that means they are digging into what was here before.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to know the origins of the following street names:

Tyvola Road
Rama Road
Colony Road
Billy Graham Parkway (just kidding!)

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There used to be a road called Speedway Blvd. in Concord, but it was renamed by a group of weak-kneed politicians.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and we used to have a 2nd St. but someone had the bright idea to rename a numbered street that has been around since the city incorporated. So most of 1st St. is gone and 2nd doesn't exist anymore. Brilliant.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah can't forget about Independence Blvd, which has been around for as long as anyone can remember. They renamed it to Charlottetowne, after the mall. Oops the mall was renamed 20 years ago. Don't worry, when you cross 7th it magically becomes Independence again.

And they thought people were confused before?

STOP CHANGING THE NAMES OF THE BLOODY ROADS

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just talking about this the other day. I would love to know about all the Fords---Nations Ford, Beatties Ford, etc.
Thanks!

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "Fords" seem rather obvious; they're roads that led to fords across local streams, creeks, and rivers. I would assume in each case that the name before "Ford" is whoever created or owned it: Beatties, Cowans, etc.

10:14 PM  
Blogger tecki said...

Yes, the Fords are named for the people who used their boats or other equipment to ferry people across the river or creek.

I believe WT Harris is named for the founder of Harris Teeter? (Or someone of the same family)

Tryon was named for the Royal Governor of the colony to gain his favor.

Lawyers Rd was so-named becuase it was a popular route for traveling lawyers who ran the circuit from Charlotte to other communities in colonial and post-revolutionary times. Originally Lawyers Rd ran from Uptown Charlotte out towards Albemarle, on the route now followed by Central Ave, Albemarle Rd and Lawyers Rd.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Roger said...

The city changes road names at a whim. The entire Wilmont Community in west Charlotte was eradicated - as was Wilmont Rd. It became "West Tyvola". What a shame- a whole neighborhood where people grew up just vanishes due to "progress". Now do some of you transplants see why we're a little bit bitter about growth!?

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colony Road: Named for Club Colony, the original name of the neighborhood south of and adjacent to Myers Park Country Club. The Crosland Company's first resdiential construction in Charlotte, begun in 1939. Most people now just call that area Myers Park. Colony, Normandy Roads, Picardy Place and the end of Roswell Ave.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:54 AM  

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