ROBINA RICH BOUFFAULT
Editor’s note: This letter was sent to City Council.
I have been reading in The Winchester Star about the petition concerning the possible renaming of Jubal Early Drive. Beware of opening Pandora’s Box. Renaming streets or moving statues which form an integral part of Winchester’s history, in an attempt to revise that history — good or bad — based simply upon the ideology of any given group of people in an attempt to placate them, could easily result in a strong, opposite reaction by other groups of people with different ideologies.The ongoing pandemic restrictions, along with the ongoing protests — not always peaceful — initiated by BLM, have combined to exacerbate the public’s negative outlooks and reactions in various ways. People are angry, angrier than I have ever seen them — and trying to placate some of them will not help. I would like to quote here one of the comments concerning the renaming, made by “ShawFamily” in yesterday’s Star:
“From a presentation given to Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society in 2016 entitled “The Streets of Winchester” by Tim Youmans: There were 387 Current Named Streets/Alleys (some unbuilt or unpaved). All Winchester city streets were named and catalogued. The categories of naming streets were: Native American, Valley Settler, French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, Civil War, Local Family, Local Business, Developer, Geography, Nature, External Place. Important to note: 112 named for local developer/family members; 69 named for natural things; 56 named for Civil War persons/places; 39 named for persons/places in England; 50+ streets for which name origin is uncertain. Nothing found in this presentation indicated that any Winchester streets had been renamed due to any type of political objection or racial overtones. The current objection [online petition]... should be tabled for a year until the current rioting and protests end. Otherwise, a dangerous precedence will be set in a historical city.”
I agree with that comment. Setting any kind of precedent during these unsettled times would be the worst thing City Council could do. It would have only negative consequences. Please table the petition indefinitely. Thank you for your consideration of my request.
Robina Rich Bouffault is a resident of Boyce.