City of Winchester Considering Renaming a Street, Possible Further Connection to Lincoln

By Benjamin Cox on December 15, 2022 at 9:15am

The City of Winchester has a question about Elm Street.

Winchester currently has two Elm Streets within its limits. City Attorney John Paul Coonrod raised the possibility of changing the name of one of the two South Elm Streets that run parallel to each other at the regular monthly city council meeting on December 7th.

Mayor Rex McIntire says the two streets have been like that since he can remember: “It’s been like that since I was a kid and went to school here. Elm Street itself runs from the north end of town, north of Jefferson Street and it goes straight into the center of the high school. If you’re driving south on Elm Street, when you get to Cross Street, which runs in front of the high school, Elm Street ends right in front of the high school there. Then, actually on south of the football field is a short section of the street that is still Elm Street. We discussed this the other night. There was a parallel street just a block west that is also called Elm Street for some reason. I don’t know why that came about years ago, and it runs between the football field and the bus garage, which eventually runs down to the elementary school.”

McIntire says that the change will have minimal impact on home addresses. Coonrod told the Journal Courier this past week that there was a recent incident in which first responders were delayed in getting to the correct Elm Street address. Outside of this single incident, Coonrod couldn’t recall any other times where there had been issues with responders and the postal service getting where they need to be.

McIntire says with the recent discussions of the Lincoln statue in the downtown square and the city attempting to get on the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Trail, the consensus appears to be name the smaller of the two Elm Streets after the 16th President: “We had a discussion about the name change. Of course, I told the city council that I’m trying to get the city involved with this [Abraham] Lincoln community push. I said that we didn’t have a street in town named after Lincoln. The city council thought that was a pretty good idea maybe rename it Lincoln Street or Lincoln Lane or whatever we’re going to call it. I think Lincoln is what we are going to rename it. In fact, Alderman Lawrence Coultas is going to talk to our school Superintendent Kevin Blankenship to see about his thoughts and let him know what we are going to do. It will only effect the addresses of 3 houses, and of course the School Board Office and Administration Office is on that street, too and then, the grade school. It’s going to be a minimum impact on just a few houses. Going north, none of the houses face that street. It runs from Cherry Street down to the grade school.”

Coonrod told the Journal Courier that if the council does move forward with renaming the street, residents would be responsible for ensuring their address is changed on their driver’s license and elsewhere.