Micanopy residents fare fine on streets with no names

Published: Sunday, January 16, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 16, 2005 at 12:43 a.m.
MICANOPY - As soon as Martha Taylor ditched her post office box for a mailbox at her 702 NW 2nd St. home a year ago, Martha Weaver's mail started arriving in it.
The mail carrier had the right street sign, the right house number. Right first name, too.
It was just the wrong Martha at the wrong 702 NW 2nd St.
Thanks to a glitch resulting from the town renaming its streets to comply with 911 codes several years back, but hanging on to some historic street names as well, both women's street signs bear the name NW 2nd Street, leading to exchanged mail and confused visitors.
Taylor actually lives on NW 2nd Street, she said, and Weaver on NW 2nd Avenue, also known as Seminary Avenue. For reasons not totally understood by town officials, her street sign calls it Seminary Street, its historic name, and NW 2nd Street.
But Taylor, along with many other historically minded residents of this town of about 700 residents south of Gainesville, said it's not a problem so much as a lovable quirk.
"People get mixed up on account of me and her having the same name," Taylor said. "Sometimes, I get her mail. She gets mine. Someone shows up, we just turn them around. It's no problem."
The trouble started when the town moved to a grid system similar to Gainesville's many years ago to comply with regulations to make it easier for emergency personnel to find street addresses, Town Administrator Charles Kelley said.
Most of the town's thoroughfares were originally named streets rather than avenues or roads or boulevards, he said. They swapped names and numbers so that all streets ran north-south and all avenues ran east-west, and in the process lost historic names like Eestaulkee, Seminary and Ocala streets.
Diana Cohen, curator of the Micanopy Historical Society Archives, said the new numerical street names that resulted led residents who missed the old names to take matters into their own hands, petitioning the town to put the historic names back on the signs.
Kelley said he's not sure how Taylor and Weaver's situation came about, but said he suspected it happened during the the grid system switch and the ensuing push for street signs to denote both the street's historical name and its current, official name.
He said it's possible there are other incorrect street signs in town as well, but said fixing the glitches wouldn't likely be an immediate priority. If the town did decide to fix them, he said, they would most likely handle all the problems at the same time to get a better rate on new signs.
"At some point in time, I'm sure we'll get them all reading the same way," Kelley said. "It does get confusing, but most people get their mail here in the post office, anyway. So it's not as much of a problem for the Postal Service as it could be."
Taylor said as far as she knew, she and Weaver were the only Micanopy residents with the appearance of the same addresses.
Cohen said the town is full of confusing street names and addresses, but said in a town this small and friendly, it didn't really matter.
"We don't like those numbers, so we don't use them," Cohen said. "We all have P.O. boxes. The only time we use the other addresses is for our voter registration cards. Mostly, people who come into town ask where the so-and-so's live. Most of us know each other, so someone is generally able to tell them."
Weaver declined to be interviewed for this story, but Taylor said fixing the glitch wouldn't be a priority for her, either.
"It's good to know one another," Taylor said. "I know her real well, so I'll just take her mail to the house."
Amy Reinink can be reached at 374-5088 or reinina@gvillesun.com.

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