When I first moved to Atlanta in 2003 I quickly began to realize that the road-naming scheme in this city was considerably different than in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. I was used to names like Front Avenue and Broadway and loads of streets designated by numbers. In short, simple names that fit on standard road signs at street corners.
What I found here in Atlanta were street names that weren’t so much names as they were identifying phrases. Names like something Bridge Road, something Mill Road, something Ferry Road and something Spring Road. To make things even more interesting, street signs were rarer and names would even change from one block to the next and back again.
So almost immediately I began building a short mental list of the most unusual and ridiculous street names I came across. Last week, I even created a Google map (with their new My Maps feature) marking these interesting streets. And then yesterday, a post on the Freakonomics blog came out on whether street names have an impact on housing prices. The stage has been set perfectly for my latest list masterpiece.
Enough already, on to the list:
10.) Peachtree Road/Street/Industrial Boulevard – This single, winding, miles-long Atlanta artery has a chameleon name, and is a favorite local target for jokes. In fact, so much so that any native of the city reading this now is rolling their eyes and sighing. Sorry, the list wouldn’t be complete without this tourist terrorizer. (Just be happy I got it out of the way quickly. ) Oh yeah, and all other streets in the greater Atlanta area named Peachtree anything are also automatically included in #10.
9.) Honour Avenue – This one gets an honorary mention for being pretentious two ways; being called “honour” and being called “honour” with the superfluous English ‘u’. (No offense meant to those on the other side of the pond, but it just looks silly over here out of context. Innit.)
8.) Sugarloaf Parkway – It’s hard to put my finger on the silliness here, but I know it’s there. The wikipedia definition for sugarloaf just adds more confusion to it all. I gather it has something to do with a lot of some white powder substance, or a pile of dirt that reminded somebody of a pile of white powder substance. Either way, silly.
7.) Hardscrabble Road – Hardscrabble! Triple word score! What the heck is “hardscrabble” anyway? I looked it up, it has two meanings: 1.) “Yielding a bare or meager living with great labor or difficulty.” and 2.) “Marked by poverty.” Good call on the road name folks. All it needs is a small dead-end side street called “Slow Painful Death Court.”
6.) Settingdown Road – Even my spelling checker hates the name of this road.
5.) Flowery Branch Road – At a loss for words here. Was “Floral Avenue” already taken? We’re talking about a road, here, not a Haiku.
4.) Beaver Ruin Road – All I can say is that must have been one hell of a beaver accident, because it ruined this road for life. (I’m so clever, I should write country music lyrics!)
3.) Land O Lakes Drive/Court – Were to begin. These streets (there is a “drive” and a “court”) are named after butter! I checked online, the company of the same name is based in Minnesota somewhere, a business can’t be blamed. Also, the name has “O” in it. Not “O’ ” or “Of” which would make it less ridiculous, but “O”. And there are two streets with this name; they made the same mistake twice!
2.) Best Friend Road – This road just makes me shudder ever time see the sign.
1.) Jot Em Down Road – This should not be the name of a street, it should be the name of a bad country song. And I should write the lyrics. Somebody with a name containing as many double consonants as possible should sing it. It’d win an award for the one hit wonder band and a few years later people would ask, “Whatever happened to those A-holes that wrote Jot Em Down Road? God I hate that song!” The singer would later be found dead in a hotel room of an overdose of Colt 45 and double consonants. I think that pretty much covers it.
There were a few other funny names I ran across when I was pushing pins in the map for this post.
Mechanicsville – The name of neighborhood just outside Atlanta perimeter highway 285. I did a quick search for information on the place and found nothing. I guess a city full of mechanics wouldn’t spend all that much time online. But it’s in good company, according to wikipedia, there are 23 other cities out there with that name. (6 of them are in Pennyslvania!) Unfortunately, the large numbers don’t prevent this from being a ridiculous name.
Sam’s Crossing – I found this one by accident, it’s the name of a 500 foot stretch of road that crosses a railroad track. On either side of this small slab of cement are roads named Arcadia. While the name isn’t particularly comical, the fact that has a name at all is.
Cynthia McKinney Parkway – Named for the former Georgia congresswoman who punched out a capitol hill security guard because he had the gall to ask for her identification. Heck, I used to think you had to do something great to get your name on a road or a town, like, I dunno, found a nation or head up a major civil rights movement. But I guess beating the hired help did get her name in the papers across the nation.
Ooo! Gotta run, I see a security guard, I’m gonna go get my name put on a street sign!