Stories That Streets Tell
To find out the origins of street names and in doing so, to learn the history and geography of the region you live in.
To explore the most common types of street names in your country and in the world.
Different periods in history each had their own traditions for naming streets.
A photo camera or a camera in a smartphone or digital device.
Why use data from multiple participants?
We need data about many streets to accept or reject the hypothesis that the types of street names indicate when they were named. The more data obtained, the more valid the results.
- Choose the street you will study.
- Collect as much information about your street and its name as possible.
Visit local libraries, city or town hall, or historical societies. Ask their librarians or employees for help. The more questions you ask, the more likely you’ll find useful information.
Additionally, check online sources, including your town’s website and Google searches.
- In the course of your investigation, answer the following questions:
- What year was the street first named?
- Did it have a different name in the past?
- How many times has the street been renamed?
Record the source(s) of your information. The most reliable sources are usually books, archival records, and articles in periodicals (newspapers, magazines, and journals).
Record the index items for every publication used. These include the year, month, author, and the publisher.
For information on the Internet, record the URL of websites. Also record the date the website was last updated. Usually, this information is found in the bottom of the webpage.
- Try to determine why the street was given its name.
If the street’s name was changed (perhaps more than once), try to find the reasons for the renaming(s). Use a separate Report Form for each name for the street.
Note: streets may have peculiar names that may not fit any of the seven suggested types of street names in the Report Form. Check option #8 (Question 5 of the Report Form) and share the unique story of your street.
- Look for an old photograph of your street, make a copy, and record where you found it.
- If you found it in a book, specify the book’s author, title, publisher, the year the book was published, and the page number.
- For a periodical, record the publication’s name, the date of the issue (year, month, day), the page number, and the photographer’s first and last name.
- For pictures on the Internet, record the URL and the date of the most recent update, if any.
This information should appear in the photograph’s caption.
- Try to take a new photo from the same position and angle as your old photo.
- Combine both photos side by side to make a single image that you upload. This will highlight how the street has changed over time.
Note: if you cannot combine the images, choose one and upload it.
If you cannot locate an old photo of your street, upload your new photo.
- Take a photograph of your street’s sign and upload it.
- Adjust the location in the Report Form: move the marker from your location to the street you studied.
- Explore the data submitted by the GlobalLab community to determine if our hypothesis is correct—different periods in history each had their own traditions for naming streets. Where to start? Compare the types of street names with the periods when the streets were named. Use graphs and charts to see if there are any relationships. Suppose you discover that some types of street names occurred more often in certain time periods. What would that tell you?
- Share your findings with the GlobalLab community in the project blog and discussions, and learn what others concluded.
While working on your project, always be aware of safety. Do not stand in the road as you shoot your photographs.
- Project was published on:November 23, 2017