MU alumni aim to rename Maryland Avenue to reflect school spirit

Thursday, July 22, 2010 | 8:16 p.m. CDT; updated 11:13 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 16, 2010

COLUMBIA — The "M" in "MU" does not stand for "Maryland."

A group of MU alumni has a goal to rename Maryland Avenue, in the heart of campus, to make it clear to travelers exactly when they enter Tiger territory.

"I think there has been a desire for several years to change the main street into campus to reflect the campus identity," MU spokesman Christian Basi said.

Basi said a group of past presidents of the Mizzou Alumni Association originally proposed the name change.

Alumni Association staff were unavailable for comment because of a staff retreat.

The change is dependent on approval from city officials, including the City Council, Basi said. He said MU officials hope to have the name changed by late September.

But he declined to provide the new name.

"We do want to keep a little bit of surprise," he said.

First Ward City Councilman Paul Sturtz said he was unaware of plans to change the name. The street, a north-south route between Stadium Boulevard and Conley Avenue, falls within his ward.

He said a name change initially didn't seem like a big deal.

"I'm not attached to the name now," Sturtz said.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said she also had not heard of plans to rename the street.

Hoppe said she would not rule out the name change, though she wants to approach it in a knowledgeable way.

"I'm always interested in what was the history of why it's named Maryland, so that we don't dump something that's significant and historic," she said.

Basi said some buildings along Maryland Avenue would be changing their addresses.

He said throughout the process, MU has been working with city officials and residents who live near Maryland Avenue.

"You need to make sure everyone is aware of what is happening," Basi said.

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Ellis Smith July 23, 2010 | 6:41 a.m.

Why was it named "Maryland Avenue" in the first place, and why wait so late to change the name? Sounds like the absolute definition of "no brainer."

The mailing address of another UM System campus is "1870 Miner Circle," not "1870 Tiger Circle." "1870" refers to the year the campus was chartered.

(Report Comment)
Andrew Hansen July 23, 2010 | 10:29 a.m.

I sort of like it being named Maryland Avenue and would actually prefer that is stay that way.
Not every thing on the University has to be about promoting the University.

(Report Comment)
TR Robertson July 23, 2010 | 10:52 a.m.

Are we renaming Virginia Avenue and Kentucky Blvd as well? They are just as much key routes in the heart of campus.

And their presence might give a clue as to the historical naming plan, corresponding to Nebraska Avenue and its like farther north in town.

(Report Comment)
Arlene Whitworth July 23, 2010 | 10:58 a.m.

Warren Dalton would know how it got it's name. He knows everything about Boone County.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin July 23, 2010 | 11:18 a.m.

"'You need to make sure everyone is aware of what is happening,' Basi said. He said throughout the process, MU has been working with city officials..."

...except, of course, those volunteer pests called elected Council members, who just get in the way when the big boys play:

"First Ward City Councilman Paul Sturtz said he was unaware of plans to change the name. The street...falls within his ward."

"Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said she also had not heard of plans to rename the street."

(Report Comment)
Andrew Hansen July 23, 2010 | 11:31 a.m.

"Are we renaming Virginia Avenue and Kentucky Blvd as well? "
No doubt...let's just rename them all to stuff like Tiger Trail, Mizzou Ave, Truman Way, etc. That way, instead of preserving the historic street names all the campus addresses can sound like that are party of a cheesy subdivision. {sarcasm}

(Report Comment)
Dan Everson July 23, 2010 | 11:50 a.m.

Hello all,
Thanks for the comments. This morning I visited the State Historical Society of Missouri, where they have a file with all sorts of press clippings and other documents pertaining to Columbia's streets.

The file did not have all that much information specifically about Maryland Avenue. However, we did find two old Missourian articles — one from 1911, another from 1912 — that listed the origins of many local street names.

Both articles said Maryland Avenue was named for the State of Maryland.

Todd Christine, of the historical society, pointed out that Maryland is one of several streets in that area that are named for states. Obviously, some commenters have brought up these streets, mentioning Kentucky Boulevard and Virginia Avenue.

We are in the process of scanning clips of those old Missourian articles so that you can view them here on our Web site.

We are also working on a follow-up story, so stay tuned for more details.


—Dan Everson, reporter

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer July 23, 2010 | 11:57 a.m.

Dan tracked down a copy of a 1912 Missourian article that lists a bunch of street names and describes their origin. It's been added to the article above. Click on the document icon on the left.
— Joy Mayer,

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith August 2, 2010 | 3:26 p.m.

Well the street COULD be re-named "Paige Avenue." Probably not.

(Report Comment)
Andrew Hansen August 2, 2010 | 3:56 p.m.


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