Considering road names

Your author wishes to merely, randomly contemplate history rather than work…

The names of New Hartford’s roads fall, as one might expect, into several categories: strictly descriptive (West Hill, Main Street, High Street, Black Bridge, South Road, etc); ‘evocative’ (Willow Lane, Maple Hollow, Timberline, Honey Hill Road etc); and people….lots of people.  The evocative names merge rather uneasily with the descriptive.  There are no trout anywhere near Troutwood, but it is possible that at one time a trout stream might have existed nearby; knowing that it is a modern name for a subdivision, one knows it wasn’t named after actual fish, but rather after the idea of the fish.  Nor are there any notable stands of willow on Willow Lane nor were there when the road was created, but the idea was pleasant.  On the other hand Maple Hollow, a very old name, still describes the area accurately, yet it appears to be in the same class as Willow Lane.  Difficult.  The people are generally easier.

There is Burgoyne Heights, named after General Burgoyne and his army, marching through these long years since on the Albany Road.

Kinsey, Steele, Gillette, Beeney, Dutton, Turnbull, Holcomb, Hoppen, Cotton, Spencer Brook, Marsh (deceptive for it runs along a Marsh, but the Marsh family lived there), Niles, Bruning, Henderson, Hayward, Sabolcik, Dings, Carpenter, Bruning, Ratlum, Ramstein, Loomis, Whitbeck, Stedman,  the list goes on.  The map becomes a roll call of history, family names and forgotten images etched on the printer’s plate.  It would be an interesting project to tell the story of the town through those names.

The Black Bridge is long washed away in a flood, but the name lingers, a passerby might be forgiven their confusion for the modern span is most assuredly not black; the Cotton family entirely forgotten…but Cotton Hill remains.


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