December 1909
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Month December 1909

No More Tinkering with Streets’ Names.

The Constitution: Atlanta, GA

Tuesday, December 21, 1909

The announcement made in council yesterday afternoon that the street committee would meet in special session on Friday of next week for the purpose of reconsidering its recommendation to change the names of Marietta and Decatur streets, indicates very clearly that not only the committee, but council, is about to escape the mess in which both committee and council were in a fair way to become entangled.

It is worthy of note that only a few years ago a street committee of council recommended the change of names of these two streets, and when the report was submitted to council, so emphatic was the protest that even the members of the street committee adversed their own report and voted against the very change they had recommended.

It  is to be hoped that the present street committee will do itself the credit of adversing its report in this instance, for there can be no doubt that the city is overwhelmingly opposed to this proposed change of name of two historic Atlanta thoroughfares.

The word “Atlanta” itself is no more indissolubly identified with the city than are the names by which a few of the principal residential and business streets are designated in history, in legal matters, and in everyday usage.

Pryor and Peachtree, Whitehall and Capitol avenue, Peters and Courtland, Washington and Ivy, Walker and Spring, West Peachtree and Gordon, and so on indefinitely – each one of these names recalls to the Atlanta of both generations clear-cut and tangible associations.

Marietta and Decatur streets are no less permanently connected in the public mind with evolution, growth, business and tradition.

Because here and there undesirable or unpleasant elements have projected themselves, there is no more excuse for abandoning appellations that are of honored derivation and of honored present significance, than there would be in changing a man’s name to reform him.

Both streets are now being rehabilitated, and can be further rehabilitated by means more lasting and effectual than an appeal to unthinking flippancy.

It is a reflection on the dignity and the high functions of the city council of the south’s metropolis, that it should be called upon to invest time in even rejecting such superfluous and frivolous proposals.

And yet, periodically, some member is inspired to agitate innovations of this nature, and always with the same inevitable result.

Every previous suggestion to alter the name of some central or well-established thoroughfare has invariably created a storm of popular protest.

In no important instance has council acceded to the scattered and finicky hysteria to tamper with the titles of prominent thoroughfares, but continued and emphatic rebukes of this character seem to glide harmlessly off the backs of one on to the next council that feels called upon to grapple with the same old question.

But we believe this lesson of the pending episode will settle the question for at least a few years.

It is high time for this “up the hill and down again” horseplay to come to an end.

Formidable problems face the council of Greater Atlanta.

Its members have not the time, certainly they should not have the inclination to fritter away energy in bubble-blowing of this kind.

They have more serious business on hand!