Shakespeare may have glossed over the importance of naming when he said a rose would be just as sweet regardless of what it’s called.
To which we would ask the bard, could a Peace Park be any less descriptive of what you would find there?
We have two Peace Parks in this county and neither resembles a place where hippies might hang out with strange music.
For those not familiar with our Peace Parks, the first Peace Park was the official name of that sculpture display at the north end of downtown, now a bare area but still called Peace Park. The second Peace Park is in Roper Park, created by the Rotary Club with permanent musical instruments and a peace monument, so the name makes sense – kind of, but there is surely a better descriptor?
And by better, we mean something unique and expressing a local pride in this community.
In fact, we would suggest that the powers-that-be, governments in cities and the county, planning boards, school board, citizens and civic groups put a little thought into some appropriate monikers.
For those concerned with larger trends, we don’t have anything prominent in the county named for a Confederate general, as Pickens was mostly a bystander in the Civil War.
So this suggestion is not an attempt to rewrite history at all. In fact, it’s a suggestion to put some history on our maps – but local history.
Consider our naming shortcomings: • The courthouse on Main Street is just the courthouse.
• The overlook on Burnt Mountain is the overlook.
• The county headquarters on East Church Street, is called “the Admin building.”
• The county detention center is just the jail, not to be confused with the earlier jail, which is now the “Old Jail.” The recycling center and public works are recycling center and public works buildings.
• Our campuses are simply the high school, middle school and Jr. high. Elementary schools at least have the place names of Hill City, Tate and Harmony.
There are a few notable exceptions. D.B. Carroll, famed coach/principal, has a street named for him – perhaps it’s time for a Don Enis or Kimsey Wood campus or gym.
Former Jasper council members CC Pritchard, Hazel Mosley and a few others have streets named in their honor but those were done in one spurt of new roads.
The Doris Wigington Park is a good example of naming, along with the Roper Park and Lee Newton Park. Surely, John Weaver’s long tenure as mayor earns him a street or building or park? Several former law men might warrant a jail named in their honor.
Our desire to see some heritage on our buildings and streets isn’t without peril. Current events shows that poorly chosen place names can create a whole bunch of problems. We’d point to the community center, which is in Roper Park. But the community center houses the recreation department and thusly is often called the Rec. center. Officially it is named for former Commissioner Robert Jones. It was a surprise tribute to him, which he did not ask for but did get unfairly blamed for the sign out front.
So maybe it’s better to go forward with only people safely in the history books? Henry T. Fitzsimmons (first founder of a marble works here) and Col. Sam Tate are surprisingly not recognized anywhere with a local building or road, though Tate’s family member Steve is.
Going on a wild naming binge would lead to unsuitable choices. This isn’t a rush job. A good start would be to see some committees formed to look at the prospects so we don’t wind up with a third Peace Park.