WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Of course you have a residential address for that is how you direct friends and family to where you live – and increasingly the courier too. Do you live in a street, a crescent, an avenue, or a lane, for example? Each of these names signify different elements to the town planners. In our town, Cradock Road is one of the main entrances / exits connecting our town to Cradock which is about 200km away.

Roads join places together and can be dirt, gravel or tar. According to the National Treasury, the South African road network comprises roughly 754 600 km of roads and streets. This dirt road wends its way through a farming area.

Streets are commonly used names in suburban areas and generally have buildings on either side. Avenues usually run perpendicularly to streets and are bordered by either trees or buildings. Here is an avenue of Eucalyptus trees leading out of town in a different direction.

In my neighbourhood there is an avenue which is actually half of a circular street. I suspect that it was designated an avenue to make it seem grand at the time this particular suburb was developed.

The other half of the circular street is known as a crescent. As one might expect, a lane is a narrow road. The dirt road that runs along the top of the Rietberge on the edge of town is known as Mountain Drive because it is shaped by the topography of the mountain.

Have you ever wondered about the origin of the name of the road, street, crescent, avenue, or lane where you live?

35 thoughts on “WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

  1. Wonderful to see where you live and read about the various distinctions of road, lane, and avenue. We have similar distinctions here. We live on a wooded country road that I have featured several times recently. It’s called Narrows Pond Road, because of the beautiful ponds not far from our house. But way back, it was called Town Farm Road because there was a town farm, a poor house, for those who were down on their luck and had no place to live.

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  2. In our suburb several streets are named after local shipwrecks, like Batho, Clan Stewart and others. There is also a Tercentenary Rd, celebrating 300 years of something …

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  3. When they finally gave street names to rural routes, my uncle thought that his sister (my mother) had moved to town. That gravel road had been called Old Creamery Road for generations, but the officials were going to name it Barb Avenue. Barb Avenue??? One of her neighbors took up a petition and finally it was officially named Creamery Road. Where my sister still lives. Gravel still.

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    • Thank you so much for this interesting and informative response, Joy! I can’t help being pleased that the road was named Creamery Road – perhaps a similar sentiment led to the naming of the Old Dairy Road I mentioned in an earlier comment.

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  4. I am glad to know you are in S. Africa. I am new to your blog and couldn’t quite figure out if you were living there or often on safari there or just what. I find what you write about most interesting, especially the birds since I am an avid birder. The birds of your region are spectacular. Actually everything in the natural world is of great interest to me especially what happens/seen in your garden.
    As to roads here, I agree that they must name roads Avenue to try to impress the public. The street I live on is called an Avenue which is laughable. It is a small, barely 2 cars wide road and it dead ends. ha… We do live off a busy road but traffic directly in front of our house is not too busy. Our city is the oldest city in our state (the state of Indiana in the U.S.A.). It has a lot of history but it’s roads are quite confusing as few if any run north, south, east and west. The city was once a fur trading station and the French settled it. They laid out the streets in an odd way. Mainly following the river as it meandered through the area. It is always a topic of discussion to people new to here.

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    • Thank you for your kind remarks about my blog, Lisa as well as for your very interesting contribution about the naming and layout of the streets in your city. I find it interesting that it has developed from its origins as a fur trading station. Towns have been established here for a variety of reasons including the availability of water, as agricultural centres, and because of mining operations among others.

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  5. In our rural town, settled 250 years ago, most routes are called Roads, but the more thickly settled village has Main, Elm (alas, with no more stately elms), Church and River Streets and a few small Avenues. Our road is Poland Rd., named presumably for a settlement of Polish immigrants. Naming was pretty basic back in the day, nowadays, developers favor fancier names like Mistletoe Way, Misty Glen Drive and the like, that are more evocative of feelings one would like to associate with home. I find rustic names used in suburban developments rather amusing!

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    • So do I as these names conjure up all sorts of expectations that simply cannot be fulfilled – if they ever could. Some suburban developments play on the natural environment that was there when the individual plots were laid out – then cut down the trees, get rid of all the natural growth, cover the streets with tar, pave the sidewalks, and build houses that all look much the same. It reminds me of:
      Little boxes on the hillside
      Little boxes made of ticky-tacky
      Little boxes on the hillside
      Little boxes all the same…

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  6. My town was planned from the ground up, and I have often wondered about the people who decided where the streets, schools and parks would go. The street names are particularly interesting to me, and the irregular way they were laid out; between the layout and the names it’s easy to get lost in my own neighborhood!

    The scenes, being less than a hundred years old and purely suburban, are not at all as photogenic as your road pictures! Thank you for sharing them.

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    • I think it must be interesting to be a town planner in the position of planning a town from scratch. You make your town sound very intriguing the way you describe the layout of the streets, and even the names.

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  7. Yes, I always wonder. In Welkom, our first street name was Jangriemoab street. That was weird. When we asked, we learned that Jan, Griet and Moab worked for a mister Naude, and that this suburb Naudeville, where the street is, was named after him as the houses were build on the section of the farm bought for this purpose.

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    • This certainly IS a strange name for a street – until you learn the reason why. I wonder if this Mr. Naude insisted on a street being named after these people who worked for him. They must have enjoyed a good relationship. Perhaps some of the other streets were named after members of his family.

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    • Sussex would have come along with the English settlers, I imagine. We have similar names in this area that hark back to what was familiar ‘back home’ for the newly settled people.

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  8. Lots of the streets here are after the first ships that landed here, or early politicians. For example, Cuba Street is named after an early New Zealand Company settler ship, the Cuba, which arrived in Wellington Harbour on 3 January 1840.

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    • This is an interesting way of integrating history into our everyday lives. I wonder how many people relate Cuba Street to the country or to the ship you mention. The latter information is very interesting, thank you.

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  9. I love places where the street / roads / avenues have imaginative or themed names. Like the suburb of Bonaero Park next to OR Tambo Airport, where the streets were given names of famous airports from across the globe – Tempelhof, Barajas, Ezeiza, Ciampino, Croydon, Cointrin, Arlanda, Fornebu, Kloten, Logan, JF Kennedy, Le Bourget, Orly, Newark, Prestwick, O’Hare…

    We live on Serene Street in Garsfontein. It isn’t.

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    • Thank you for this very interesting contribution to street names – a fascinating subject. I looked up Serene Street and can see why you suggest it is anything but so 🙂 This is one of the ironies of suburban living.

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  10. I live in rural North Devon, England. Around here very few of the country lanes have names, instead the houses have names (but not numbers). So anyone visiting for the first time has to rely on the post code to find their destination. The code can cover quite a large area because the houses are very scattered, so this makes for an interesting experience!

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    • Tell me about it: as South Africans trying to find our way around the rural areas this was a bit of a nightmare when pressed for time; when not, we certainly got to see a number of interesting things we might not otherwise have noticed 🙂

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  11. A stimulating post. We live on Christchurch Road which was once a winding country lane that probably had a different name. The transport using it was the horse and cart which was gentle and quiet. Subsequently it has been straightened and has become a direct route between Christchurch and Lymington towns. We need double glazing at the front to drown the constant noise. Only in the last five years has a speed limit of 40 m.p.h. been introduced It is of course often ignored.

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