Sunday, October 19, 2003; Page M10
Does D.C. have a street named for each of the 50 states?
Karl Horberg, Washington
Is California Street the only state-named road in D.C. that is not an
avenue? If so, why?
Lisa's question provides an answer to Karl's -- yes, every state is
represented by a thoroughfare in the District -- but prompts a further
query. And the answer to that is: No, California Street is not the only
state road that is not an avenue. The other one is Ohio Drive, which
loops around East
broad diagonal avenues that cut across the District were supposed to
bear state names. The problem is that America kept getting more states,
and before long, there weren't enough big streets to go around. Plus, as
various neighborhoods were redeveloped, some state avenues vanished.
That's what happened to Ohio Avenue, which ran between 13th and 15th
streets NW before the construction of Federal Triangle obliterated it in
movement to standardize street names spelled doom for other state
avenues. Before 1893, developers could name their own streets, causing
all sorts of confusion (there were three Oak Streets, for example).
Starting around 1904, D.C. commissioners started renaming streets in the
outer reaches of the District to harmonize with names used closer in.
What was once California Avenue, in Georgetown, became T Street. (But
tiny California Street remained.)
Politicians often say
they'll get voters better roads, but they also jockey for better road
names. After its original avenue was demolished, the Ohio congressional
delegation had the, uh, chutzpah to suggest that Independence Avenue be
renamed after the
State. (It got its drive in 1950.) In 1951, a Tennessee congressman said
the avenue in Northeast didn't do the Volunteer
"full justice." He wanted Klingle Road renamed after it. Sorry.
1959, Washington state recommended that Reno Road be named after it,
enraging the Nevada delegation. The Evergreen
didn't get its own avenue until 1989, when four blocks of Canal Street
SW were renamed Washington Avenue. John F. Kelly
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2003 The Washington