HomeRegister Your Support!
  Latest News

Press Releases
Keep up to date with current press releases.


See our support through news articles written about Klingle.

Hear our debates.

Enjoy our gallery of pictures.

Face on Klingle.

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 Chapin, Washington

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 Potomac Park.

The 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 the 1920s.

The 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 Buckeye State. (It got its drive in 1950.) In 1951, a Tennessee congressman said the avenue in Northeast didn't do the Volunteer State "full justice." He wanted Klingle Road renamed after it. Sorry.

In 1959, Washington state recommended that Reno Road be named after it, enraging the Nevada delegation. The Evergreen State didn't get its own avenue until 1989, when four blocks of Canal Street SW were renamed Washington Avenue. John F. Kelly

Have a question about the D.C. area? E-mail answerman@washpost.com. Please include your name and address.

2003 The Washington Post Company


For additional information, please email support@repairklingleroad.org