Friday, November 30, 2007

LakeFieldRidgeFarmOceanView Estates

Been driving around a bit today, noticed some subdivision names.

They irk me. All these nature words rendered meaningless at best, and actually absurd in some cases ("Pine Woods Estates," which hasn't seen a full-grown tree since long before its first cookie-cutter "colonial" was slapped up.) The ones with "estates" tagged onto the name bug me especially. To my mind, a property (save those in probate) is not an "estate" unless it has more than one outbuilding, no visible neighbors, and a full-time staff.

I imagine developers must have a name generator sort of like the lottery draw machine -- big transparent spheres of swirling ping-pong balls with words on 'em that are or were vaguely relevant to the geographic setting about to be mowed down. They pop the first word out: Lake, Pine, Mountain, [somebody's name]'s, River, Bay, Ocean, Hill. Then the second word: Woods, Field, Farm, Ridge, Hills, View, Heights, Crest, Pines. Then they can pop out another word from the second word batch, either to make it a three-word name ("River View Heights") or to fix a combo that makes so little sense even the developer won't go for it ("Pine Pines" might have to be changed to "Pine Crest"). The final option is whether or not to tack "Estates" on the end. It appears this is only mandatory if the development is a trailer park.


  1. At the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I lived in an apartment complex called Orchard Landing. It had neither.

  2. They do this in our town too. Rip down all the beautiful trees and then name the streets after them. Argh. Or add a big tacky water fountain with the name of neighborhood sand blasted in it and call it Water Springs or something like that. Lovely.

  3. My in-laws used to live in Doc Savage Estates. That always made me giggle.

  4. Yes! Oh, it bothers me. You make me laugh through the tears though. Something about the shamelessness of it... it's like they're gradually wearing down our resistance to falsehood, breaking down the idea that words have meaning, preparing us to tolerate great future lies by steeping us in pointless present little ones.

    Sometimes the names seem to indicate what was destroyed to build the place. Other times it does indeed seem random.

  5. It is not a fun experience to come from one of those places. Our neighborhood was called Canterbury Woods. No woods. No knights.

  6. I get what catherine says about this... there's a little bit of "war is peace" to it. It is ridiculous, but also sinister, if you're at all inclined to see things that way, which I can be.

    There in in fact a "Canterbury Estates" neighborhood in my town. No knights there either, unless I haven't visited at the right time of day, or something.

    One thing I do know... if your neighborhood has "Orchard" in its name, and you are not connected to a municipal water system, then have your drinking water tested for pesticides. Really.

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  8. I live in The Bayview Hill.

    Sadly, there's no bay, view or hill. But take note that it does start with "The". We're *that* fancy...

    Heidi :)

    PS: Sorry about the deleted messages. Having major spelling problems today.