Did You Know? Street Names
Reprinted from the Merrimack Mill Village Newsletter – February, 2010
Did You Know? articles provided by Jim Marek.
You probably know that our streets here in the Village were originally named A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. But did you know that the cross streets did not have names? It was only until 1946 that they received the names Elm, Holly, Cedar, Spruce, Oak, and Linden. At this same time, the names of our alphabet streets were also changed. “A” Street became Alpine, “B” Street became Bradley, “C” Street became Clopton, “D” Street became Dubose, and so on. Where did these names come from? With the exception of Alpine and Fairview, they have a connection to some of the more influential individuals in our history. Bradley of course was the family name of the most popular and most progressive mill agents, Joseph “Big Joe” Bradley and his son Joe Bradley, Jr. Among other things, they were responsible for building Joe Bradley School, the Merrimack Mill Village Hospital and Clinic, and were commonly recognized as being genuinely interested in improving the quality of life for their employees. Clopton was named after Mrs. Anne Bradshaw Clopton, a much-loved teacher at Joe Bradley School and known worldwide for her painting on spider webs as can be seen at the Burritt on the Mountain Museum. E.F. Dubose was first a teacher and then the principal of Joe Bradley School. Emm Ell was named after M.L. Lowenstein whose company purchased the Mill from the Merrimack Manufacturing Company in November 1945. And finally, the Mill doctor, Dr. Carl Grote, is commemorated in the naming of “G” street.
Even Triana Boulevard went through a series of name changes over the years. Originally it was called Triana Pike because the road went from downtown Huntsville to the town of Triana on the Tennessee River. Later it became Pike Street, then Park Boulevard, and finally to the present day Triana Boulevard. Ivy Street was originally Spring Street because it went to Merrimack Springs, now known as Brahan Springs.
Did you ever hear of Pea Ridge Road or Ridgecrest Street? Well, at one time or another Drake Avenue was known by these names. First known as Pea Ridge Road and later as Ridgecrest Street, it initially only ran from Triana Boulevard west to what is now Patton Road or Jordan Lane. When first built, our Cottage Row, the seventeen houses between Drake Avenue and Linden Street south of the soccer fields, did not have to contend with a busy street like Drake – there was no street at all where Drake Avenue is currently.
Our thanks to Murphy Stolz for his tireless help in researching the history of our Village.