In the south end of Evanston, Lee Street comes to an abrupt dead-end at Sherman Avenue. Appropriately, it was Sherman whose scorched earth “March to the Sea” was the beginning of the dead-end of any hope for General Lee’s confederate army in the U.S. Civil War. Not to be forgotten up on the north end of town, General Grant and President Lincoln are duly honored with dignified tree-lined streets.
Our city’s original street names – in addition to the customary Main and Central – commemorate war heroes, local founders of the city, landowners and several varieties of trees. Some American cities and suburbs get more creative: I used to live in University City, (the location of Washington University) just west of St. Louis. University City’s founder had big dreams of creating a utopian place of learning and named every street after an American college or university.
What goes into naming a place? Who gets to decide? What was the original meaning and what does it mean now? Continue reading