Picking street name not so easy
By Jacob Bennett
Almost every town has Main and Elm streets, but only one has streets named after Jerry Aigner's schoolteachers.
Aigner and his brothers decided to honor beloved teachers at the long-closed Elberfeld School by naming the streets after them at his Hornet Hills subdivision in Elberfeld, Ind. It was a moment of rare inspiration among folks who christen blacktop. He already has honored Martin Blesch, the grade school basketball coach; Jim Harbison, the high school history and social studies teacher; Dolly and Clara Hebbler; and Wilford Wheaton, the fifth-grade teacher.
"We use lakes and trees and animals and stuff like that, and sunsets and so on and so forth," said Aigner, who with his brothers has built a handful of subdivisions in Warrick County. "It's hard to find unique names."
Temporarily at least, Hornet Hills, named for the Elberfeld School mascot, solved a problem common to those who blaze trails to suburbia - with nearly 2,500 roads in Vanderburgh County alone, all the good names are taken. Sometimes the Vanderburgh County Area Plan Commission looks at other cities' directories for ideas, and it used to have a master list of possible names because developers often would ask for suggestions. That list is lost; it was used up anyway.
"Trees are gone, flowers are gone," said Beverly Behme, the Vanderburgh County zoning administrator.
Developers sometimes dig deep for ideas. A stroke of inspiration can provide names for several streets at once.
In Newburgh, there are streets named after champion race horses: Citation and Secretariat Drives run into Ruffian Lane, all behind the Triple Crown Center.
Evansville turned to presidents (Lincoln, Washington, Adams) and to states (Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia) and to memories of World War II (MacArthur, Roosevelt and Corregidor).
So far, Evansville has no streets that begin with the letter X.
Most new streets link blocks of housing developments. Private drives also have to be named if there is more than one house off the driveway or if the home is hard to see from the main road. This makes it easier for emergency officials to find the houses there.
In Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois, either 911 or local government officials review new street names to make sure there are no duplicates or soundalikes. North, south, east, west are off-limits, Behme said. A road called North Pine Drive would be confusing if it ran east to west.
Howard Wells and a couple of engineers from Andy Easley Civil Engineering named the roads of Mill Creek Estates after Big Ten college basketball teams. I.U. Drive came first on the south end of the community, then came Wolverine Drive. But the post office wouldn't let them name the northernmost road after Northwestern because the directions would be confusing.
Wells' suggestion: Wildcat Pass, after the University of Kentucky nickname.
The name hasn't caused friction with the folks on I.U. Drive.
"They're far enough away from IU they don't cause any problems," Wells said. "We keep them separated so there's no fights."
Some residents have fun living on streets with unusual names.
Several people posted replies when Mike Thomas, 21, of Newburgh and his girlfriend, Jaharidan Calhoun, 21, flaunted her address on the college Web site facebook.com: "If you like beer, come to Corona Drive." Calhoun's street in Hornbrook Estates is named after the beer; it intersects with Amstel Drive, another brand of beer.
Thomas said he has had Corona beer, but never in the apartment on the street that shares its name.
"I've never thought about that one," he said.
Unusual street names in the Tri-State
Slim Bottoms Road, Mount Vernon
Calle Las Colinas
Carlsbad, Yosemite and Glacier Drives
Robin Hood Lane intersects with Prince John Lane
Five Dollar Road
Golden Rule Road
Seminary Road West
Gun Powder Lane
Little Schmuck Road