By Wayne Grant
When a friend arrived from up north, I had to explain that they should make a turn on Old Tomoka Road. No, not the Old Tomoka Road west of the freeway, one of the other Tomoka Roads.
There are several that turn off Granada Boulevard, go a short distance and then back on. There’s one that skirts behind Peach Valley West, one that detours by Tomoka Elementary and a couple more.
People often make fun of Atlanta’s many “Peachtree” streets, but Ormond Beach has its Tomoka Avenue, Cove, Ridge, View, Street, Trail, Way and Drive, not to mention a river, basin and state park.
It’s been the “go to” name, evidently. It came from the Timucuan Indian Tribe, specifically Chief Tomokie.
The several Old Tomoka Roads that depart and return to Granada Boulevard are the remains of the original road that travelled to Barberville, when Granada Boulevard ended at the railroad tracks.
Local people in their retirement years can remember when it was a dirt road. Imagine, driving along a winding, unlit road to go to Wal-Mart to get your flip flops and windshield washer fluid. Just kidding, there was no Wal-Mart out there at the time. There was only a lonely Starbucks.
Seriously, there were just a few houses on the road that wound through an ancient oak forest and the dark, tannin-colored, Tomoka River. There may have also been moonshiners, but I don’t like to write about my relatives.
The “here a Tomoka, there a Tomoka” feature in Ormond Beach is just one unique aspect of the town’s roads.
Street name that’s never spoken
There’s Yonge Street. New arrivals wonder how this name should be pronounced. Happily, there’s no need to worry about it, because the name is never pronounced. It’s only seen on maps. That busy thoroughfare is known as Ridgewood by locals, the same name it has at it runs through Daytona Beach. And if you’ve been down Ridgewood in Daytona Beach, you can’t blame it for running.
That’s why the real and true Ridgewood Ave., a couple of blocks east, must always be called “Little Ridgewood,” so as not to mistake the two.
North U.S. 1 needs another name
But north of Granada Boulevard, Yonge Street takes a different name. It’s “North U.S. 1.” This sounds very businesslike and industrial. Makes sense, I suppose, because that seems to be the way the corridor is going, toward industry, with the notable exception of an oasis known as Destination Daytona.
This corridor should be renamed, something to attract the attention of investment bankers. Something to make people expect something big. I believe Golden Gate is already taken. Send me your suggestions in an email, and I’ll present them to the powers-that-be.
Continuing west from “Little Ridgewood,” you get to Beach Street. I suppose it got that name because it’s only a river and an island away from the actual beach.
Really, rivers have banks, they don’t have beaches. If a river is in Wyoming, I suppose you could call its shore a beach. But not when it’s close to a real, honest beach, on the Atlantic Ocean.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. And a street with any other name would still get you in a bout of road rage.
I’m now thinking of a name for North U.S. 1. Yes, I think I have it … Tomoka Boulevard!