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Saturday, August 16, 2008

What is in a Name?

Most streets in Utah follow the grid system and are therefore generically named with numbers. It is only when you have entered the residential neighborhoods that you start to see names for the streets. Is it easy to name a street? Not if you live in a valley as big as ours. Each time a development is planned, its founders must struggle to find names that have not already been used somewhere else in the valley. The names must be submitted and go through several different entities to assess if the name is unique and practical. Most of the names submitted are rejected.

Some developers will get creative with their street names. This can be a good or a bad thing. Some will create theme neighborhoods. Names like oak circle, pine street, maple lane, and a dozen other trees will find their way onto the street signs. In the neighborhood just South of the University of Utah you will find that many of the streets are named after ivy league schools. You will find Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale for example. They can also get corny with the names as well. Apparently there is a neighborhood in California that named its streets after Star Wars characters. Vader Avenue anyone?

Some names are clever, Hemming Way, Ubinaranda Circle, and Willbea Road. Others just make you shake your head. How would you like to live on Finally My Way? So when I started to see words that I had never heard of before on the street signs in Daybreak, I thought that I would look up their meaning.

In Daybreak, a few of the street names are actually French. Mille Lacs means “thousand lakes” and Lac Vieux means “old lake.” Of course many of the names in Daybreak seem to be the average type of names that you would expect of a new development: Cold Canyon, Warm Canyon, Cool Canyon. However, there is a theme that most Daybreak streets have in common. Most of them are named after lakes or towns in the Midwest and Southern portions of the U.S. Degray? Lake Degray, Arkansas. Greer’s Ferry? Greers Ferry, Arkansas. Dardanelle? Dardanell, Arkansas. Coralville? Coralville, Iowa. In fact, most of the names seem to be concentrated in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, California, Oklahoma, Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, and Oregon. Why? Who knows, maybe some of the planners of Daybreak left a small imprint of themselves by naming the streets after places in which they grew up or have fond memories. I can only guess. If someone knows, then please comment and enlighten us all. In the meantime I encourage you to look up the street you live on. You might find something hidden in plain sight.

4 comments:

oussan said...

Interesting article. I'd wondered about some of the street names in Daybreak, so it was nice to see that you'd done some research on the subject.

We just moved into Ozarks Drive, and of course the Ozarks are located in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas, which basically falls right in line with what you were saying. Honestly, I thought Ozarks was kind of a strange name at first - out of place in a west side, west of the Mississippi neighborhood - but the larger pattern is actually quite nice. Anyway, it's got a nicer ring to it than "Waynes World Drive" in Draper (aka 137th South). ;)

Enjoy the blog! Thanks!

Sarbear said...

We are about to move to Manitou Way. Looking it up on wikipedia. Manitou is the general term for spirit beings among many Algonquian Native American groups. I thought that was neat, but the street is probably named such because there is a Manitou, Oklahoma.

Anonymous said...

Could you inform us on what the future plan for road expanding to I-15 are. Rumor has it that 114th will eventually extend to I-15 and that they are expanding 118th. Is this true? Thanks. We love your VERY informative postings.

Anonymous said...

When we moved to Daybreak in the early days the word was that a very expensive consultant had been hired to name the development. The person was rumored to have come out and stood in the acreage at different times of day...like Sunrise and Sunset. Daybreak was the winner for the community name and the runners up we used for street names. It's plausible. Why else do you have warm canyon, cold canyon and cool canyon all in the same neighborhood. Yes that's faulty logic. Just a thought.