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Economys downturn cuts down cute neighborhood names
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One thing the housing slowdown has given us is fewer cutely named subdivisions. I love driving through a town and noting the name of developments. In Forsyth County, one of the larger developments is called Polo Fields.

They actually have a place in the subdivision where one could play polo. But before it was the polo fields it was just somebody's farm.

We name subdivisions with alluring names. It's the same tactic they use in naming characters on soap operas. Nobody on a soap opera is named Uvalda or Rowena. They're named Simone or Victoria.

In the subdivision naming, we like to invoke many European themes, like Waterford, Lucerne or Versailles. I have seen the word "Venetian" used in subdivision names, although none of the houses were immersed in water and were reached by gondola.

Someone sent me a three-part list of potential subdivision names. If you pull a word from each list, you can name a subdivision.

Try it for yourself.

List one: pine, oak, cedar, willow, maple dogwood, spruce, elm, walnut, ivy

List two: sunset, colonial, bridge, circle, country

List three: acres, forest, valley, island, point, bay, farm, woods, brook, estates, meadows, hills, landing, hollow, creek, bluff, fields, lake

Think about it: You can have Oak Valley Estates or Spruce Bay Hollow and it sounds just dandy.

I have many friends who have moved here from somewhere up north. I commend them for their choice. Some of them still like to talk about how good it was up there.

If it was so good, why do we not have any subdivisions named New Chicago Estates, Newark South Meadow, or more generic like Graffiti Rust Landing?

There are a lot of people who skipped over Georgia on their way to the south. They ended up in Florida and got hot. They moved to Georgia, where we actually have seasons. It used to be the hot and cold seasons. Lately, it's just the rainy season and the three days in between.

I'm glad they didn't like Florida that much or we'd have some place called Panama City North, which wouldn't be too bad if it included the military leader of Panama, Capt. Anderson, and his seafood place.

I've also known a lot of people who lived in other parts of Georgia and came to the good life up here. Not many subdivisions named for any small towns in South Georgia, although, I'd live in Ludowici Sunset Landing if folks would drive slowly.

Speaking of driving, the other fun thing about subdivisions is the names of their thoroughfares. Street, road, avenue or drive has become passé. Now streets have suffixes of way, vista, walk or path.

I knew a farmer who took a few of his acres and built a subdivision. He named the streets for his wife and his three daughters.

My favorite street names in a subdivision are also in Forsyth County, where the developer named all the streets for cars, most of which are not made anymore.

There are streets that bear the name of Fairlane, Bel-Air, Catalina, Valiant, Belvedere and Corvair. Like me, they now are obsolete.

Harris Blackwood is a columnist for The Times. His column runs every week in Sunday Life.

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