Tuesday, April 18, 2006

On The Corner Of Beehe And Franklin Streets

Every street should have a little plaque telling the passer-by why it was so named. Franklin Street, north and south, was named for ... well, for who? Ben Franklin? Possibly; his signature is on a register over at the Courthouse just a block away, so he at least passed through here. Main Street is pretty obvious, as is River Street (especially in the Spring, when it gets flooded and becomes even more obvious).

Before moving slightly up and across the street, I lived for three years on the corner of Beehe and North Franklin Streets. Beehe (or Beehee) is the street my city wants to forget, and has done an excellent job of doing so for a good many years. They don't plow it, pave it, maintain it, have a street sign for it, or list it on city maps. The college where I work uses this very narrow half-block alley as a parking lot for employees of an adjacent building, as did the previous owner of the house. By default, it is ours, not worth the time and energy for the city to officially abandon.

We have a Hazle Street, Hazle Township and Hazleton. Some day I have to find out who this Hazle was. Since the last two references are in coal areas just south of us, perhaps he was one of the coal barons, which does not answer the question about the city street's name.

The Kirby name is sprinkled all over the area; you can't move without running into it or driving on it. Mr. Kirby, along with a Mr. Woolworth, began the concept of the Five & Dime store and left his mark here (Kirby Health Center, Kirby Park, Kirby Performing Arts Center, Kirby Library, Kirby Avenue, the former Kirby/Woolworth 5 & 10 cent store, and who knows what else).

Plaques would help. "Muffin Street was named after Mayor Smith's pet cat."


Blogger Reading Reader said...

How about suburbia? The trees are removed, and then the streets are named after them in some kind of odd memorial. Shopping centers, too. Instead of BigBucks Plaza, we have Broadcasting Square because the radio antenna towers USED to be there. Egads!

April 18, 2006 1:42 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

I have learned that if you want to know what used to be where a housing development is now, just check the street signs:

Quiet Stream Drive
Bunny Rabbit Road
Fox Lane
Quiet Woods Path

Of course, you will never see:

Rattlesnake Road
Skunk Path
Stinky Pond Lane
Outhouse Drive

April 18, 2006 3:43 PM  

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