On the street where you live...

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...Or where you think you live

By Tom Watson

When just a kid in Taylorsville, I often heard my father speak of the street names, but didn’t pay much attention to such rhetoric until I was much older.


Like most boys on Reasor Avenue, my interests were trying to find ways to make a few nickels while trying to avoid shameful surrenders in our BB gun wars with the guys on Maple.
We gathered and sold apples from my father’s back yard trees and tried other hair-brained schemes such as making our garage into a performing arts center with some lawn chairs for the audience that never showed up. Can’t really say “never” because Jimmy Oder came by on his way home from basketball practice one day and wanted to know what I was doing.
“Setting up my drum set on the stage,” I explained. Of course it was a pseudo stage with a gravel floor and my drum set was designed for the “10 and under” musicians.
Jim came inside and asked if he could play my drums.
“Sure,” I said. “For a nickel.” He grabbed the drum sticks, nearly caused a minor earthquake with his drumming, handed me the sticks back along with a nickel and said, “Neat.”
I always liked Jim, who was so good with a two-handed set shot.
But we started this missive talking about street names, so let’s get on with it.
This scribe asked Mayor Pay recently if he was aware that some streets in Taylorsville didn’t carry the names given them when the town plat was drawn.
He’d heard of some indiscretions and urged me to continue.
“Well sir,” I said. “The original plat shows Point Street extending from Back Alley, across Main Street to Garrard. The current signings have ODell Court from Back Alley to Main Street, with Point Street running only from Main to Garrard.”
He was unaware of any action by the city commission that would have authorized the change.
I also asked him how long “Bank Alley” had been on the books. It’s an inexplicable instance of street naming and signing that slipped by the city commission – isn’t it? There is no “Bank Alley” on the original plat.
Mayor Pay wasn’t aware of action by the city commission that produced the naming of the previously unnamed alley. He had no opinion on the name, nor did I.
Then I reminded the mayor that Taylorsville has a couple of street names that were not on the original plat and have been wrongly signed for years.
One is “Railroad Street” which never existed. The signs should identify “Depot Street.”  The other is “Red Row,” which is ridiculously misidentified as “Red Roll.”
Someone asked at the last meeting of the county historical society what the name “Red Roll” meant.
“Nothing,” was my opinion.
Many years ago, the roofs of houses on the street that branched off Jefferson at the Second Baptist Church were all painted red, hence the nickname “Red Row.”
Years ago when Taylorsville’s “Merchants” baseball team was playing Harrodsburg on a Sunday afternoon at the old ball park and I was bat boy for the merchants, a Harrodsburg player, UK basketball All-American Frank Ramsey hit a towering home run to right field. Somebody said “There goes one to Red Row.”
The late Leroy Williams explained to me how some of Taylorsville’s street signs were lettered. He said people and their addresses were looked up in the phone book.
The phone company said people were asked the names of the streets where they lived when they signed up for service and many didn’t know the spelling or guessed at it.