Why these mountains?
October 22, 2007 7:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm sitting in North Clairemont, San Diego, watching the fires pass by on the north, east and south. Why are all the street names in my neighborhood named after mountain peaks?

I know they are vaguely alphabetically distributed, but why mountains, and why these particular mountains? Did a developer choose their favorites, or is there some other pattern that I am unaware of?
posted by billtron to Grab Bag (18 answers total)
cause the fools that built there built among forested mountain peaks, and thought it was pretty cool to do so
posted by Salvatorparadise at 7:56 PM on October 22, 2007

SD city planners have obnoxious senses of humor. Have you SEEN La Jolla, near the university? Nobel and Lebon? Villa La Jolla and La Jolla Village?

Who does that??
posted by crinklebat at 7:58 PM on October 22, 2007

At the risk of sounding flip, they're probably named after mountains because they had to name them something. When I worked at the library I got a call from a developer who wanted a list of horse racing tracks so he could get ideas for street names. There are whole sections of the town I live in where the streets are named on a theme: former governors and counties of the state are the first ones that spring to mind. Probably just an idea the developer had.
posted by marxchivist at 8:01 PM on October 22, 2007

All the street names in the development I grew up in were the names of apples. The development was unsurprisingly called Apple Valley, but I never knew it was called Apple Valley until I stumbled across a plat map several years later.

You may be in a similar situation.
posted by 517 at 8:04 PM on October 22, 2007

Marxchivist's got it. That's why cities typically have numbered and lettered streets, because they have so many streets they couldn't possibly come up with enough distinct names for all of them.

It's common in new developments to come up with themes for the names of the streets. Sometimes the developers come up with all the names at the same time, and sometimes they use the name of an existing street as a starting point.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:07 PM on October 22, 2007

I should clarify: They could come up with distinct names for city streets, but not in as efficient a way as lettering and numbering them.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:08 PM on October 22, 2007

Streets in my old neighborhood were ski resorts. Others were countries/cities in Europe. Look at a map of Plano, TX (my hometown) and zoom in on the residential areas, I bet you'll find better ones. Basically, developers have limited imaginations.
posted by MadamM at 8:18 PM on October 22, 2007

Response by poster: I think my question might be too local for mefi and should be asked of the developers back in 1957 when this entire neighborhood was built.

I want to know how this set of mountains came to be chosen. Why Mt. Ararat and Mt. Everest but no Mt. Aconcagua?
posted by billtron at 8:22 PM on October 22, 2007

Indeed. There's a newish development in Tallahassee with many streets named after authors. Faulkner Lane and Hemingway BLVD and such.
posted by empyrean at 8:32 PM on October 22, 2007

Try the San Diego Historical Society (but maybe wait a few days!)
posted by exceptinsects at 8:35 PM on October 22, 2007

Not that this is really on topic, but the newspaper in Prince George, where I grew up, runs a periodic feature in which they look at the history of street names in various subdivisions. They give mini-bios of the people they're named after, or who the developer was that came up with the naming scheme or whatever. It's kind of neat to read it and see how the city developed.

My guess, though, is that for the most part, you're looking for meaning where this is none, or very little. The people I've known who've been involved in naming new subdivisions have largely pulled it out of their asses. It's as likely as not because the guy who named the streets had heard of Mt. Everest and Mt. Ararat but not Mt. Aconcagua. Or thought Acongcagua was hard to spell, or pronounce.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:31 PM on October 22, 2007

Best answer: It's basically whimsy. Sometimes it makes sense, and sometimes it's asinine.

Generally it is the developer who lays out the streets and submits the plat to the city for approval. Most cities are not actually in the street-naming business, but they may veto ones they don't believe are appropriate for one reason or another, such as confusion.

I'm not sure I'd spend too much time concerned about it. Sounds like the persons involved would mostly be dead.
posted by dhartung at 9:34 PM on October 22, 2007

The founding San Diegans had a lot of fun coming up with their street names. in Point Loma, they named the streets after authors in alphabetical order. Pacific Beach was gemstones. Then there's a whole section of San Diego where all of the streets are tree names, in alphabetical order. I'm guessing themes make street naming a little bit more fun and challenging. Kinda like people who go crazy naming nail polish colors.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:55 PM on October 22, 2007

Just locally:
* Minerals
* Western states
* Indian tribes Neighborhood popularly referred to as "the Reservation"
* Ye Olde Englishe Villagee
* Space, the Final Frontier
* Ducks Unlimited
* Deer Me
posted by dhartung at 10:02 PM on October 22, 2007

Yes, they just pick these things out of indexes. A little knowledge can be dangerous. I once visited a friend in a new suburb in Dublin (East Bay, CA). He was living next to Londonderry Street.
posted by meehawl at 10:03 PM on October 22, 2007

there's a community near here with famous race horses, my friend lives on phar lap, weird!

teh developer of your area is probably long dead so you may NEVER find out why he chose what he chose, but the best you could do is make a list of all the mountain peak names and then see what they have in common, maybe they are one range, one area, or something like that
posted by Salvatorparadise at 10:34 PM on October 22, 2007

I live among a combination of States and Presidents
posted by afx114 at 11:53 PM on October 22, 2007

Hi, neighbor. There's some indian tribes near us, too.

I'd always heard it was arbitrary. You may be interested to know that Clairemont itself was named after (future) GOP congressman Clair Burgener's wife, Claire (no joke).

Stay safe out there.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:14 AM on October 23, 2007

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