Two stories out today about attempts to re-name well-known areas of Boston and Cambridge.
First-up, the Globe discusses the controversy over re-naming Lechmere Station, on the Green Line, to NorthPoint at Lechmere (the developer of NorthPoint condos, nearby, are hoping that, eventually, everyone will forget about the “at Lechmere” part, sometime in the near future).
Cambridge city councilors were quick to put it to a vote, saying they wanted the station to retain the name Lechmere, in remembrance of the past, and the settler who owned the land originally, Richard Lechmere.
Whoops! Lechmere, it turns out, was an 18th-century slave-owner, and staunch anti-revolutionary.
Some city councilors backed down, and regret their votes. Not councilor Anthony Galluccio. He drove forward without braking (err, bad choice of words?), and suggested that the station might be named after the most famously known slave who sued Lechmere for his freedom.
My take: Just change the thing. Who cares? They’ve changed the Auditorium station at least twice now, first to Hynes / ICA, and now, because the ICA closed up shop and moved, just Hynes. Once they sell the Hynes (oh, if only …), it’ll have to change names again. Whoop-de-do!
Second-up, the city is floating the idea of re-branding Downtown Crossing, which would include re-naming the area. The Ladder District, while somewhat historically accurate, wouldn’t work, for most. The developers of the new Filene’s building are also hoping for a new name.
My take: Why bother? It is what it is. Nearby is “Midtown”, which came out of nowhere (okay, historians, yes, there was an attempt to re-brand that area with that name, in the late 1980s, so shut it), so let Downtown Crossing become something else, organically.
Not up for debate: the area down near Fan Pier, past Fort Point Channel, is not the South Boston Waterfront – it’s the Seaport.
More: Shopping for a name: New moniker eyed for Downtown Crossing – By Scott Van Voorhis, The Boston Herald
Also: Familiar name comes under question – By Janice O’Leary, The Boston Globe