It took 120 years, but here it is, finally: a mnemonic device for Everett’s downtown streets.
But first, let’s review how we arrived at it.
Everett was founded in 1892, when a bunch of East Coast moneymen, fronted by Charles Colby and largely backed by millionaire John D. Rockefeller, decided to build a city where a new railroad would hit water.
They named the city after Colby’s son, Everett, and named most of the streets running north-to-south in the downtown core for themselves: Wetmore Avenue was for Charles Whitman Wetmore, Hoyt Avenue for Colgate Hoyt, and so on.
From east to west, those streets are Broadway, Lombard, Oakes, Rockefeller, Wetmore, Colby, Hoyt, Rucker and Grand.
Maybe they had no problem remembering the street names as they gazed at their planning maps and greedily rubbed their hands together, dreaming of developing that real estate. But we do. The streets, after all, aren’t named for us.
So, to help keep them straight, we stole an idea already at work in downtown Seattle, and asked you to come up with a mnemonic device.
You certainly remembered what a mnemonic device is: those memory tricks students often use to remember complex lists. For example, a math student may say, “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally,” and recall how to do an equation: first the Parentheses, then Exponents, then Multiply, Divide, Add and Subtract.
More than 100 people sent in ideas, suggesting roughly 190 mnemonic devices. Some were off-the-wall, some were inspired and many were memorable.
We picked our five favorites, and then asked you to vote online for the best of the lot.
More than 180 of you weighed in, picking a homey and clever suggestion, sent in by reader Donna Green: “By Loving Our Roots, We Can Have Rosy Gardens.”
It’s hard to say what those white-beards who founded Everett more than a century ago would have made of it, but we agree with the readers. We think the idea, like the city itself, will take seed.
Fun with mnemonics!
Donna Green submitted the favorite mnemonic device of the summer, but another idea might help you remember the order of the downtown streets. Here are another 10:
• Belt Lots Of Red Wine … Come Home Real Groggy — Linda and Rich Glazier
• By Logging, Our Rain Weary Comrades Helped Rear Generations — Ben Keller
• Beach Lifeguards Only Relax When Crowds Have Really Gone — Dennis Lee Burman
• Blue Lilacs Open Robustly, While Colorful Hollyhocks Rise Gloriously — Aileen M. Langhans
• Buxom Ladies Offer Rewards Which Chaste Husbands Refuse, Generally — Tina Glover
• Boeing Loves Our Rainy Wet City, Hastening Regional Growth — Glenn Florey
• Buy Lots Of Ripe Watermelon, ‘Cuz Harry Really Gorges — Dave Brown
• By Loving Only Riches, We Cannot Have Real Gold — Kathee Sweek
• Bring Lattes Or Rachel Will Cry Her Rage Greatly — Ann Washburn
• Basic Listings Of Random Words Can Help Road Guidance — Jon Dalberg
You can read more about the history of Everett’s downtown streets at www.heraldnet.com/thegrid.