What’s In A Street Name?

When I first moved to Deer Park 28 years ago, I noticed that the side street by my house was named Arnim.  It was a word I had never heard before and seemed awkward.  It took me a long time to quit calling it Armin simply because it sounds better.  In fact, when you type in Arnim, spell check wants to correct it to Armin.  I put it out of mind though, until recently. I happened to look at a 1912 county plat map of Deer Park.  On that map, Arnim St. was called Ermina St.  Apparently, someone, sometime had changed its name from Ermina, a street name that also appears in Spokane and is an old fashioned girls name, to a name that makes little sense.  I decided to see what Arnim might be named after or what its meaning might be.  The dictionary told me it could mean universal, whole, or a small flying eagle.  These don’t seem like good reasons to change a street name, and who ever heard of an eagle that didn’t fly anyway.  So I looked for famous Arnims and I only found two.  Achim Von Arnim was a romantic poet around 1800, and Hans-Jurgen Von Arnim was a World War ll Nazi general who took over the Africa Corps when Rommel fell ill.  It doesn’t seem likely that either of them were the inspiration for this name change.  Naming a street after a German over most of the period since 1912 would not have been too popular!  I asked a few oldtimers and checked with a couple city employees and no one knew of the old name or why it might have been changed.

So, I am hoping that someone out there in the Gazette readership has the answer about the when and why of this name change.  If you do, please let the Gazette know, or email me directly at [email protected].  Thank you!

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