Letter: Naming Names

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602 S. Gay Street
2nd Floor
Knoxville, TN 37902

I previously worked for the assessor’s office in Blount County, working many neighborhood plats and street names. [“The Lonsdale Riddle,” Ask Doc Knox by Z. Heraclitus Knox, Feb. 21, 2013] There is no real restriction on street naming by developers, i.e. those who file the plats, outside of not using names currently in use. Plats are checked for street naming through the 911 system to eliminate any duplication. As a matter of fact, a few years ago, the 911 system here changed several street names to avoid duplication or similarity. It would be too confusing for emergency personnel to be called to a network of streets for example, of Everett Road, Everett High Road, Everett Avenue, and Everett Street.

Outside of that, I am not sure there has ever been any other restrictions on street naming. As the City of Alcoa actually began as a historic company town with their own police and services provided by the company (before being cut loose as an independent city), the first developments were for the power system and dams to feed the plant. Initially, those installing power systems and developing living quarters named the sections of the city along Hall Road with street names to reflect scientists and others involved in some way with power generation: Ohms street, Watt Street, Newton Street, Howe Street, Edison Street, Volta Street, etc.

There is another section of town with streets named after trees; Elm Street, Boxwood Avenue, Rose Avenue, Ash Street, Spruce Street, etc. Then there is the Presidential section in Rock Gardens Subdivision, with Garfield Street, Lincoln Road, Grant Street, Monroe Avenue, and McGinley Street. You will also find a section of the numbered streets; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc, streets named after original landowners, schools churches, creeks, etc.

An interesting note in Blount County is the developer who was a former Marine built some modern subdivisions with street names such as Quantico Drive, Lejeune Drive, (General) Chesty Puller Circle—streets named for battles and additional generals and others.

I’ll bet if you look around Knoxville, and beyond Lonsdale, you will find much the same thing. Thanks for the Lonsdale article.

Tommy Mercks

Maryville

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