The late Lester Hosch, a Hall County businessman, consummate Rotarian and historian, once inventoried Gainesville street names, giving the origin of some of them.
Hosch wanted more streets bearing names of Indians or trees. At that time he counted 140 streets named for families or important community residents, five for flowers, five for Indians, six for directions, such as Atlanta Street and Athens Street, and two for vines.
While Hosch could count only five Indian street names, they are much more numerous today. For example in Hall County, there are Apache Circle, two streets named Arrowhead, Catawba Ridge, Arapahoe Trail, Sequoia Circle, Trahylita, Navaho Circle, Osceleo Trail, Mohawk Drive, Bald Eagle Trail, Watuga Drive, Nacoochee Street, Pocahontas Drive, Blackhawk Drive, Broken Arrow Path, Chatuge Drive, an Indian Circle and Drive, Running Wolf Way, Yonah Avenue, Tomocheche (Tomochichi), Nickajack, Nottley, Wahoo Drive, Chicopee, Elachee Drive, several Enotas, Chattahoochees and Cherokees.
As for trees and plants, today Hosch could have named Wisteria Drive, Ivey (or Ivy) Terrace, Ivy Road, Azalea Lane, Beechtree, Beechwood, Big Oak Road, Big Spruce Drive, Big Tree Road, Blueberry Hills Drive, Clover Path, Holly Drive, Crepe Myrtle Lane, Dogwood Circle, Fir Lane, Green Apple Road, Daffodil Drive, Honeysuckle Road, Juniper Court, Misty Oak Drive as well as several other Oak-related streets, Peachtree Place, Peach Mountain Drive, Persimmon Tree Road, Muscadine Trail, Eucalyptus Lane, Elderberry Lane, Wildflower Drive, Apple Blossom Court, Blackberry Lane, all sorts of Pine-named streets and roads, along with several Cedars, Chestnuts, Forests, Walnuts and Hickory.
In Hosch’s time, there was a Sycamore Street that ran into Green Street. It is now E.E. Butler Parkway, named for the late physician, church and civic leader.
There are remnants of Broad Street between Henry Ward Way and Spring Street and between West Academy and Main Street. Broad used to run out past Alta Vista Cemetery and once was called Lawrenceville Street because it was on the way to that Gwinnett County seat. It is now Jesse Jewell Parkway in honor of the late poultry pioneer.
A few names are on the practical side, Microwave Tower Road, for example, which tells you exactly what’s on that road.
Many streets and roads bear names associated with bodies of water. Too many with Lanier or Lake on them to name, but there also are Allen Creek, Flat Creek, Plum Creek, Little River and Chestatee.
Hosch said Fair Street was so named because it once led to some fairgrounds. Myrtle Street at the time was the longest street, though part of that is now named Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Academy Street leads to the former Brenau Academy, now Brenau University, as does Brenau Avenue. Three streets around Lee Gilmer Municipal Airport bear the “airport” name, and the main one is Aviation Boulevard. Alta Vista Road leads to the city cemetery by that name. Quarry Street in New Holland once led to a rock quarry.
Flowery Branch’s Gainesville Street once was the main route to Gainesville.
Birds and animals are prominent in Hall County street and road names, including Whipporwill Lane, Nightingale Lane, Red Bird Circle, Heron Lane, Buzzard Roost, Cardinal Drive and Canary Court.
Street-namers paid homage to numerous prominent people from this area, including former Gov. A.D. Candler and former Mayor John Morrow.
Longstreet Avenue, named for Confederate Gen. James Longstreet, was the shortest at a block long. It barely exists now, just off Queen City Parkway, but three other tributes to the general are Longstreet Circle, Longstreet Trail and Longstreet Way. Artist Ed Dodd, creator of the comic strip Mark Trail, has a street named for him as well as his cartoon character.
Several streets bear the Dunlap name for the prominent family that played such an important part in the history of the county.
Four decades have passed since Lester Hosch suggested to local officials at the time to name more streets for Indians and trees. Whether they followed his counsel or not, the proliferation of new streets, subdivisions and commercial developments since has created a demand for more and different names. He would be proud his wishes were granted in part anyway.
One of Gainesville’s neighbors is bustling Hoschton, Ga., named for Lester Hosch’s ancestors who founded the town.
But there’s no Hosch Street in Gainesville. Maybe there ought to be.
Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times. His column appears Sundays and at gainesvilletimes.com/johnny.