On Naming Things

New Hartford has several places which have debated names.  The most widely known is the Bakersville/Bakerville headache, which revolves around whether one believes the oldest inhabitants (no ‘s’) or the US Postal Service (yes to the ‘s’).  The state solved the problem for a number of years with one sign, going one way, saying ‘Bakersville’ and the one going the other way saying ‘Bakerville’.

Another headache is West Hill Lake, or West Hill Pond, or Shepard’s Pond, or Lake Wonksunk-a-munk….  The last was the purported Native American name for either the pond, or a local chief.  It had brief popularity at the turn of the last century.  Shepard’s Pond was a title given to the water-body after the first settler, one Daniel Shepard.  West Hill (X) has become its accepted title. But is it a Lake or a Pond?  Officially, it is a lake; but for strict geographers or cartographers, its size is more that of a pond…

We also have Maple Hollow, Stub Hollow, Skunk Hollow: all the same road.  The last name went out of use about a century ago.  Technically, Maple Hollow its entire length; the older name of Stub Hollow, named after a section of roughly cleared land on it, still crops up.

Or perhaps one wishes to debate the question of ‘Townline Road’ versus ‘Torringford East’  The latter is the Torrington name for that road. It has become widely accepted due to the fact that more people live on the Torrington side of the road, in the Torringford district of Torrington. But it is literally the Town line, and is labelled as such on the older maps of New Hartford, hence the New Hartford name of ‘Townline’.

There is too Route 44, also the Old North Road, the Albany Road, the Greenwoods Road….but those names are now almost entirely forgotten and remain only as records of the old system of Post Roads.  More common is the local name for a numbered route: Town Hill is Route 219, the Litchfield Turnpike is Route 202, Main Street is Route 44.

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