Several months ago, right after I returned from my Dust Bowl trip and tallied my new County Counts, I noticed that one of them, Lincoln County, Colorado was sort-of shaped like the letter L. That led to Shaped Like it Sounds, a brief collection of States, Counties and Towns that mirrored the first letter of their names geographically.
That concept suddenly jumped to the next level when I noticed this amazing specimen of a road in a suburb of the Melbourne, Australia metropolitan area.
Y St., Ashburton, Victoria, Australia
Behold the occurrence of Ashburton’s Y Street in the City of Boroondara, on the eastern side of Melbourne. This one was rather atypical of a Y Street since it was actually shaped like the letter Y (you may need to drill in to see the actual labeling, or consult a different map). I couldn’t find any other single-letter streets nearby so it didn’t appear to be part of a larger grid. Someone consciously labeled this Y street due purely to its shape. It seemed rather odd. How would someone create a set of logical street addresses for a road that split like this?
Imaging giving someone directions: "OK, drive up Y Street to the Y-intersection. Now, bear left onto the left branch of Y Street; be careful not to take the right branch of Y Street. Yes, they are all the same Y Street…"
What About Other Letters of the Alphabet?
The highly unusual nature of Y Street became more apparent as I searched in vain for additional instances. I was certain there had to be others — it seemed too tempting to not spawn similar thoughts elsewhere — although I couldn’t find anything. Hundreds of towns with perfectly square or rectangular alphabetical grids jammed the results of major online search engines to the point of uselessness. Try to find an actual S-shaped S Street, or a circular O Street, or a crescent C Street. Post them in the comments if you find anything. I gave up.
Ewe Road, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA
I found much better luck when I converted my attempts from a single letter to a phonetic spelling. For example, convert the letter U to Ewe or You and one could easily discern several horseshoe-styled streets, paths or driveways that met the criteria. Some of them may have been designated intentionally. Others required greater imagination to appreciate and may reflect a Rorschach interpretation of my overly wishful thinking.
Nonetheless, I discovered a few possibilities after more time spent hunting than I’d care to admit.
- (C): See Road, Valley Head, WV (map) – Turn the orientation on the map so that East points upward and a large C-shaped crescent appears
- (L): Ell Road, Hillsdale, NJ (map) – A definite and most assuredly intentional L. There were several other Ell roads/streets although the one in Hillsdale was probably the best. Ell was the most common Letter-Shape road.
- (O): O Circle, Adel, IA (map) – Oh! I so wanted to believe it was an O. It formed a circuit albeit more rectangular than circular when combined with N Avenue and 250th Street. "Circle" in this corner of Iowa appeared to represent any street with a 90° bend that didn’t change names. I don’t know why.
- (S): Ess Road, Kansas City, MO (map) – Ess Road had a couple of legitimate S curves.
- (U): Ewe Road, Mechanicsburg, PA – I featured that one in the image above.
- (U): You Road, Kane, PA (map) – Someone with a driveway had a good sense of humor
- (U): You Way, Parrottsville, TN (map) – A definite U although I’m kinda wondering more about the name Parrottsville(¹) than the shape of the road.
- (Y): Why Lane, McVeytown, PA (map) – It forms a Y intersection when combined with adjacent River Road; nowhere near as good as the Australian example though.
Additionally if anyone want to take a logical leap and say that snakes represent S, then there are hundreds of Snake Streets and such with multiple twists and curves.
What Were They Thinking?
O Circle, Omaha, Nebraska
I spotted three distinct segments of O Circle in Omaha, Nebraska and they all appeared ramrod straight except for their terminations at bulbous cul-de-sacs. What a completely lost opportunity. I did notice a dog about to relieve itself on a fire hydrant quite stereotypically, and that should count for something at least until the Street View car drives through the neighborhood again.
My disappointment with C Street in Crescent City, California was also palpable. With a name like Crescent City, shouldn’t it have a crescent-shaped street and wouldn’t C Street be the perfect candidate? Nope. It was simply one among many perpendicular and parallel lines (map) on a much larger grid.
Ditto for See Crescent in Avenell Heights, Queensland, Australia (map) which was neither a C nor a Crescent. A pox on the person who named that one deceptively.
By preemption, I’ll also note that any straight-line I street might be said to resemble its namesake, as would any L street if we considered the lowercase, or a T street that terminates in a T intersection. None of those were worth pursuing.