WINCHESTER — The city is seeking public input on whether Jubal Early Drive should be renamed.

A short survey is now available online at www.winchesterva.gov/jubal-early-drive-renaming. The deadline to respond to the survey is 8 a.m. July 13.

Feedback also may be submitted via the online public comment form for City Council’s July 14 meeting. The form will be available beginning July 10 on the meeting agenda portal at https://winchesterva.civicweb.net/Portal.

Jubal Early Drive is a busy city thoroughfare that was named in 1991 for a Confederate general in the Civil War. The movement to rename the roadway comes in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality and racism stemming from the May 25 killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, who was Black, by a white police officer. Floyd’s death has sparked a push to take down Confederate monuments and rename streets and buildings with ties to the Confederacy or white supremacy. Supporters of the effort to remove Confederate reminders say they glorify slavery, white supremacy and a treasonous government.

City Council discussed the possibility of renaming Jubal Early Drive at its June 23 meeting. A Change.org petition started by Winchester resident Jason Murray also seeks to have the street renamed. The petition calls Early, who was not a Winchester native but who was encamped here during the Civil War, an “unrepentant” white supremacist who supported slavery. “Why is one of the busiest streets in Winchester named for this racist traitor?” As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had more than 390 signatures.

Nearly 60 streets in Winchester bear Confederate-era names.

According to information on the survey site, the roadway that bears the name Jubal Early Drive was built in many phases and was originally identified as the “Southern Loop” in plans. It was renamed Apple Blossom Drive in the 1980s, when the easternmost part of the road was built. In 1991, council designated parts of the route as East Jubal Early Drive and Jubal Early Drive. In 1994, a stretch of the roadway west of Valley Avenue was renamed Meadow Branch Avenue. In 2014, the route’s easternmost portion was renamed Millwood Avenue.

State Code section 15.2-2019 gives Virginia localities express authority to name roads, the survey site indicates. The survey site further explains that road and alley renaming requests are handled via a resolution that must be adopted by City Council. Unlike ordinances, resolutions do not require first and second readings or any public hearings prior to a council vote. A review of city road renaming efforts over the past 100 years “reveals little to no evidence of council seeking public input, however, there is public comment at all City Council meetings where local residents can address council on any matter.”

If the road’s name is changed, approximately 80 businesses would be affected, but no homes, according to the survey site. Council has discretion to specify when a name change would take effect, should it move forward. City staff has suggested a minimum of 60 to 120 days to give businesses time to update their address information.

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com

(34) comments

soulmates

Winchester City government is a bad as our Congress. They cannot do anything that is productive and valuable so they concentrate on meaningless project like changing names. Congress is good at changing Post Office names as well. Waste of time and money which they need for better uses.

VAFury

Why would we possibly be honoring Early? I can see a case that he was charged with defending the Shenandoah Valley from invasion and destruction at the hands of Sheridan. Is Early on the right side of history? Absolutely not, I get it, but he operated here and defended the area, albeit unsuccessfully.

Anyway, that is that, I get the need for change. Has anyone suggested John C Underwood? This stretch of road leads out of Winchester to Clarke County, and Underwood deserves recognition as a vocal anti-slavery advocate in Virginia in the 1850s/60s who was ultimately threatened and run out of town. It is still a shout out to that era of history, but to a man who the 2020 morality can agree with, since we seem insistent on judging historical figures through that lens.

Don't tread on me

Hope you aren't thinking tax-payers are to foot the bill for this. The Rebel flag, statues, monuments, school names, street names, where does it stop?

Paula

"Black Lives Matter Drive" would be a very good name.

Robert Early

I've verified that I'm related to this dude. I've seen the photos from will's in my family "bequeathing" our families slaves to other members of the family as of they were dogs. I agree that we shouldn't be honoring him. Also, nobody is rewriting history by removing monuments to known white supremacists. The Germans didn't rewrite history by taking down symbols after the war, and after all these years their history is still there.

skyhighnet

Just rename every street a number. unless that is offensive. Because that is not the only street i this town named after someone. My street Braddock is named after an English A hole.

slowe

It would be interesting for the STAR to research how and why the street was named for Early in the first place. There must have been some debate or motions in city council. Or .... even some story in the STAR itself!

Bryan.the.Nuri

Still can't find any good reasons why Jubal Early deserved a road to be named for him here...

cookie

Street Drive Road, that shouldn't offend anyone. maybe slightly confusing but you get the idea

Spock Here

"Putin Promenade" intersected by "Soldier Bounty Drive". Nice ring to it, eh?

Violet

Is it a proven fact that General Jubal Early was a "white supremacist" ?

Spock Here

As white as they gett

Violet

Being white isn't proof. I'm white but that doesn't make me a supremacist. Where's the proof?

Spock Here

From his memoirs "Reason, common sense, true humanity to the black, as well as the safety of the white race, required that the inferior race should be kept in a state of subordination." That's about as "white as it gets." Check out his own writings. He was also quite lousy at his job.

Bryan.the.Nuri

His post war writings show that he was one of the "unreconstructed" Rebels...

Doc Samson

@Violet - Yeah, pretty much...

Robert Early

I have proof. I've verified my relation to Jubal. My family certainly owned slaves in the 1700's and 1800's in Virginia. I have photos of at least one handwritten will from the late 1700s (iirc) "bequeathing" slaves to other family members.

Robert Early

I have proof

Robert Early

woops didn't mean to reply twice lol

Jason Murray

Robert - thank you for vote to change the road named for your relative. Hopefully others have as much integrity as you are showing and also vote to change the name.

Jason Murray

Violet - go read the into to his own autobiography. Its easily searchable. Read his words for yourself. He was without a doubt - 100% - all in for White Supremacy until the day he died.

captain

Somewhere in everyone's history we are kin to someone that did something to offend someone, so are we going to get to the point where we start doing away with people because of their history? HUMMM think about it just look around the world. Do you want live like that in the USA

Bryan.the.Nuri

*yawn*

Spock Here

So the street is named for a white supremicist who didn't live here. Whose brilliant idea picked that name out of the hat to begin with? And why do so many want to keep a white supremicist's name there? One wonders..

ginamcintire

I would wager most people don’t know the man or his history. They are just resistant to change. That being said I get the feeling some are being educated which is not a bad thing.

hjpommier

Enough is enough. It is time to stop changing everything because history is what it is!!

Blondie

I agree. Enough is enough. Stop taking our country away from us.

StellaBob

My thoughts exactly. Maybe we should honor history and rename it, David Duke Blvd, or even Hitler Ave?

jake277

Stop giving in to things that are removing history.

anon

Stop honor white supremacists by naming everything after them.

Conservative

Stay in school. Study hard.

Doc Samson

Eat your veggies!

Violet

Brush your teeth!

SJFRAME

History is history. Get over it and move on!!! Concentrate on the needs of now to prepare for the future.

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