Tuesday, November 9, 2010

All in a Name

Neff Road. Yes, I lived on Neff Road. Were I to go away from Neff Road, I could easily find my way by getting on a road that told me the towns between which it ran:

Pitsburg-Laura
Gordon-Landis
Pitsburg-Gettysburg
Gordon-Ithaca
Red River-West Grove Road
Arcanum-Bears Mill Road

Country roads are named a bit differently than in town. Town streets often run from numbered streets to names of presidents, names of trees. Whereas in the country road names a local history is captured.

There is no longer a town of Red River. West Grove Church is no longer. Yet the history of the road remains. Bears Mill still stands reminding visitors and neighbors of another time in Darke County.

I imagine that a Neff once owned a home on Neff Road. Perhaps his farm was the land where the groundwork of this road began. The Hog Path got its name from the path farmers traveled their livestock to market. Children's Home Road was the location of the Children's Home. County Home Road got its name the same way. Our history was noted in the names of the roads.

None of my relatives surnames made it onto the road sign. There was never a Loxley Road even though three Loxley families owned property on it. I'm surprised that we never had roads with names, such as Wheat Road, Corn-Elevator Road, Farm Road. The essence of the neighborhood is never captured in a name. Lavy, Stager, Welbaum, Rhoades, Wert, Bucholtz. Those were the important names representing our road.

A few years ago, I moved closer to my daughter into a neighborhood that was not familiar to me. One day I was driving my granddaughter to a friend's house. My stop at the stop sign indeed stopped me in my tracks, stopped by a street sign that read:

Loxley Drive

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