The Herald Bulletin

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Columns

April 5, 2014

Jim Bailey: Renaming streets involves red tape, but it happens

Efforts to rename part of Nelle Street for civic and religious leader Mack Reese is hardly the first such effort in Anderson’s history.

Two such changes happened in relatively recent years on Anderson’s west side. The thoroughfare long known as Pendleton Avenue was renamed to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the famed civil rights leader. And a few years ago, a portion of Louise Street was changed to Dr. James T. Menifee Street in memory of the longtime pastor and civic leader.

With the red tape involved in changing the name of a street, including confusion in designating addresses of existing homes and businesses, residents as well as government officials don’t always look favorably on changing street names. Proponents have countered by urging changes in signage and designations without formally changing the mailing addresses.

Sometimes it is done informally. According to some sources, Broadway in North Anderson was known as Baldwin Avenue for a short time in honor of one of Anderson’s mayors. The story goes that the change was not made a matter of law, and Mayor Harry Baldwin himself did not approve of the change and subsequently had it rescinded.

In the early 20th century, Anderson’s eastern border was a street called Union Avenue. After the founding of Anderson College, it was changed to College Drive. By that time, of course, the city limits went as far as Nursery Road.

That was not the end of the influence of the college, which became a university in 1987, on street names. When East Third Street through the university was reconfigured shortly after, its name was changed to University Boulevard all the way from White River to Scatterfield Road.

Of course there was the reconfiguration of Brown and Delaware streets into the Brown-Delaware thoroughfare in about the 1980s.

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