Thursday, June 22, 2006

Naming Places

Not too far away from where I live, there's a road called Lorimer Street. It's also the subway station where the L and G lines connect.

Today's word of the day from Wordsmith is "lorimer," which, it turns out, means a maker of bits, spurs, and other accessories for horses. It's a term drawing on an old-style profession.

So I'm curious: Does the neighborhood have a history of horseplay? According to the Greenpoint Timeline, Eliphalet S. Scripture of Greenpoint received the first patent for an improvement on the flying carousel horse in 1850. And by 1880, carousel maker Charles I.D. Looff had a factory at Bedford Avenue and Guernsey Street, which isn't too far away.

That feels like a stretch.

An online genealogy resource indicates that the street was in fact named after John Lorimer Graham and James Lorimer Graham, two "land jobbers." The street opened in 1852 from Broadway to Grand.

Story told!

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