Street Sign Namescapes : An Analysis Of Eau Claire, WI Street Names
Kaldjian, Paul J.
MetadataShow full item record
There is little in our daily lives that seems more ordinary than streets and their names. We encounter and refer to them daily as we travel the landscape and repeat our addresses. Our addresses are part of who we are. We internalize street names as we locate, orient, and organize ourselves in space. Yet, we take street names for granted, rarely giving them a second thought. Indeed, street names are full of meaning, tell stories, and give insights into a community's history, values, and identity. As a cultural construction embedded in the human landscape, street names show us more about ourselves than we readily imagine. Geographers point out that landscapes can be treated as texts. As such, landscapes are produced (“written”), contain meaning, and consumed (“read”) with various interpretations (Knox and Marston 2016). Motivated and guided by The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power (Deirdre Mask 2020), our study examines Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s street names in an attempt to uncover and understand the significance of street names in a community’s lives. Our initial analysis of Eau Claire’s 1000 street names shows locally and nationally significant historical figures, regional environmental characteristics, and dominant cultural heritages. Spatial and temporal patterns suggest shifting cultural values and practices and a fragmented, sometimes indifferent, approach to street naming. And, just as telling are the street names that are not found on the landscape.
Street names --Wisconsin--Eau Claire
Department of Geography and Anthropology
Color poster with text, images, charts, maps, and graphs.