Saturday, February 10, 2018

Elizabeth City to Put Up Street Signs, Number Houses, 1935

From the Elizabeth City Independent, Feb. 8, 1935

Gross irregularities and glaring mistakes in street names and house numbers throughout Elizabeth City are likely to be corrected in the near future as a result of a motion passed by the City Council at its monthly meeting Monday night. The motion ordered the placing of new signs on every street corner and new numbers on every house and building in the city, provided the necessary funds can be found.

The matter was brought up by Mayor Jerome B. Flora, who pointed out the urgent need for such a project locally. Merchants have long complained about the irregularity of house numbering in the city, calling attention to the trouble encountered by their delivery boys in seeking addresses in some sections of the city. Various civic organizations have long complained about the unsatisfactory manner in which the city’s streets are designated. Many street corners do not have any signs at all; on others the signs are so weatherbeaten that they cannot be read; on still others the signs have been broken off or knocked askance by passing trucks or heavy winds.

There has been considerable complaint these past few years regarding the difficulty of finding one’s way about in Elizabeth City, particularly if one happens to be a stranger in the city. But nothing has ever been done to remedy the situation, due to the expense of the undertaking. Two or three years ago the City asked an out-of-town concern to figure on the project, and $3,000 was asked for the job. Another concern later offered to take the job for $1,200. Unable to spare that much money for such work, the city did nothing about it, but Mayor Flora has kept the project in mind all along.

Looking thru a catalog recently, the Mayor saw house numerals listed at an attractive price. Getting out paper and pencil, he estimated that the City could re-number every house in the city and put new street signs on every street corner for $300, or thereabouts, exclusive of labor costs. A conference with T.P. Richardson, work project supervisor for the local ERA office, encouraged him to believe that the project could be done almost entirely with ERA labor.

In bringing the matter before the City Council Monday night, Mayor Flora stated that he was not asking for any action on it but was merely passing on the information. The Council was strong for the suggestion, but members of the Finance Committee said there was not that much money available for such an item. So the Council passed a motion ordering that the work be done if ways and means could be found for raising the $300.

The Chamber of Commerce-Merchants Association, which has agitated this project for some time, is expected to help the City in financing the project.

It is estimated that 7,500 numerals will be needed, since there are approximately 2,500 houses in the city and three numerals will be needed for each house. There will be no house numbers below 100, and there will be no 1/2s. There are about 300 intersections in the city.

Another trouble will be remedied by this project. At present there are some 10 or 15 streets in the city that have the same names. There are two Lane Streets, two Pennsylvania Avenues, two Factory Streets and numerous other duplications in the city. These duplications will be remedied when the new street signs are put up, Mayor Flora said this week.

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