Raleigh Report

February 20, 2014

Wake County's best themes for street names

Raleigh Housing Authority director Steve Beam wasn't the first developer to pick a unique theme for neighborhood streets. Wake County neighborhoods pay tribute to Harry Potter, Arthurian legends and literary greats.

Raleigh Housing Authority director Steve Beam wasn’t the first developer to pick a unique theme for neighborhood streets.

Beam has drawn fire for renaming the streets of the Walnut Terrace public housing development after obscure magicians. Those names will likely be replaced by tributes to leaders in the historically black neighborhood south of downtown Raleigh.

Private-sector developers, however, get a lot less scrutiny when they pick street names. And while lots of neighborhoods around Raleigh and Wake County have bland names related to trees or flowers, the area’s street signs have a few pockets of creativity.

Here’s a few of the best neighborhood street themes mentioned in Twitter discussions this week:

1. Harry Potter in Holly Springs: The houses in the Holly Pointe subdivision don’t look particularly magical, but their addresses come straight from J.K. Rowling’s popular fantasy novels. Wizardry fans can come home to Hagrid Court, Gryffindor Lane or Diggory Drive. (Tip from @TriangleExplorer)

2. Beatlemania in Southwest Raleigh: There’s a British invasion just south of Interstate 40 in the Trailwood Springs subdivision. Imagine how often songs would get stuck in your head if you lived on Sgt. Pepper Court, Norwegian Woods Court or Eleanor Rigby Court. And to get to those musical cul-de-sacs, you’ll need to cruise down Long and Winding Road, where it’s probably rather hard to order a pizza. (Tip from @LoganJames)

3. Literature land near North Hills: Like the classics you read in high school English? You’ll probably feel at home in the Hickory Hills neighborhood, where each street honors a renowned author. Among the addresses: Steinbeck Drive, Frost Court, Thoreau Drive and Faulkner Place.

4. Arthurian legends near Garner: Back in the 1960s, a developer thought homeowners might enjoy living in Camelot, so that’s what he named a modest subdivision east of Garner. The streets here evoke the Knights of the Round Table: Lane of Sir Gallahad, Lane of Sir Lancelot, Queen Guinevere Trail and Trail of Merlin.

5. A state geography lesson: Take a drive around North Hills for a pretty comprehensive look at North Carolina’s 100 counties – though the developer skipped the Triangle in favor of rural counties like Gates and Pamlico. (Tip from @WhalerCane)

6. Use your own name: Most of the streets in downtown Raleigh bear the name of the original city commissioners when plans for a new capital were drawn up in 1792. Frederick Hargett, Thomas Blount, Joseph McDowell, William Jones, James Martin and others have left their mark on downtown for centuries. It’s unlikely today’s Raleigh City Council could get away with a similar move. (Tip from @RaleighMoves)

Know of any themes we missed? Add them in the comments section below.

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