Three Potomac Streets Named After Confederate Officers to be Renamed

Three Potomac Streets Named After Confederate Officers to be Renamed

Earlier today Councilmember Andrew Friedson announced that the Montgomery County Planning Department will rename three Potomac streets named for Confederate Officers.

Per Montgomery Planning: “The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), has announced it will rename three streets identified as having full name matches with Confederate soldiers with those that honor local African American historical figures Geneva Mason and William Dove. The streets currently known as J.E.B. Stuart Road and J.E.B. Stuart Court will be renamed Geneva Mason Road and Geneva Mason Court, respectively. The street currently known as Jubal Early Court will be renamed William Dove Court.”

Per Montgomery Planning:

The streets being renamed were identified as having full name matches with Confederate soldiers; J.E.B. Stuart Road and J.E.B. Stuart Court will be renamed Geneva Mason Road and Geneva Mason Court, respectively; Jubal Early Court will be renamed William Dove Court.

WHEATON, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), has announced it will rename three streets identified as having full name matches with Confederate soldiers with those that honor local African American historical figures Geneva Mason and William Dove. The streets currently known as J.E.B. Stuart Road and J.E.B. Stuart Court will be renamed Geneva Mason Road and Geneva Mason Court, respectively. The street currently known as Jubal Early Court will be renamed William Dove Court.

These three streets are the first to be renamed as a result of the M-NCPPC’s Street and Parks Facilities Renaming Review project, a joint effort of the Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery County Parks Department, both part of M-NCPPC. The project began in June 2020 after the Montgomery County Council sent a letter to the Planning Board and the County Executive requesting “a comprehensive review of all County owned and maintained street names and public facilities to determine all those named for Confederate soldiers or those who otherwise do not reflect Montgomery County values.” After the Montgomery County Planning Board unanimously approved a resolution to begin the renaming process in January 2021, Montgomery Planning worked with the community to garner ideas and feedback on new street names. Out of all the individual names proposed for the new street names, Geneva Mason’s name received overwhelming support from the community.

About the new street names

Geneva Mason (1899-1980) was a prominent community leader in the Scotland community, centered near Seven Locks Road in Potomac, in Montgomery County; she was instrumental in the rebuilding of the Scotland community and its fight against urban renewal efforts in the 1960s. In addition to Ms. Mason, the Scotland community suggested renaming a street in honor of one of their elders: William Dove. Dove, an African American man born in slavery, was one of the founding members of the Scotland community. He purchased some of the first parcels in Scotland and is an ancestor of many Dove and related family members who live in Scotland today.

Under Maryland law, the Montgomery County Planning Board has the authority for naming or renaming most county streets. That authority is delegated to the Montgomery County Planning Department Director. To ensure that these new names are not duplicative or could be easily confused with an existing street name, Planning staff have worked closely with Emergency Services and Fire Department staff from Montgomery County and the City of Rockville. They also confirmed that the new names meet the standards of the existing M-NCPPC  Addressing and Street Naming Manual and  Street Renaming Policy.

“After listening to the community and giving careful consideration, I have made the determination to rename the three streets, which are currently named for Confederate officers, after consequential Montgomery County residents,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright. “These street names will honor the legacies of these local African American historical figures going forward and take a small step towards righting the wrongs of our past.”

Streets renaming process:

  • The M-NCPPC Street and Parks Facilities Renaming project began in June 2020 after the Montgomery County Council sent a letter to the Planning Board and the County Executive requesting “a comprehensive review of all County owned and maintained street names and public facilities to determine all those named for Confederate soldiers or those who otherwise do not reflect Montgomery County values.”
  • During summer 2020, a team of Montgomery Parks and Planning historians conducted historical research to identify nationally known Confederates as well as local Confederates, Confederate sympathizers and slaveholders in Montgomery County, then identified streets and park facilities that had name matches. More details on this research can be found here.
  • Montgomery Planning and Parks staff briefed the Planning Board on the Street and Park Facilities renaming project research findings on October 1, 2020.
  • Montgomery Planning and Parks staff briefed County Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee on December 7, 2020 on the renaming initiative and its findings.
  • Montgomery Planning and Parks staff briefed the full Montgomery County Council on January 12, 2021.
  • The Montgomery County Planning Board unanimously approved a resolution on Thursday, January 14, 2021 to begin a process to rename three streets identified as having full name matches with Confederate soldiers. The streets, currently known as Jubal Early Court, J.E.B. Stuart Road, and J.E.B Stuart Court, are the first to be renamed as a result of the M-NCPPC’s Street and Parks Facilities Renaming Review project.
  • Montgomery Planning staff hosted a virtual community meeting with property owners and residents on the three streets on February 22, 2021 to brief them on the renaming project and solicit feedback on potential name options.
  • Montgomery Planning notified the owners and residents of the close to 70 impacted property addresses of their new street names in a letter sent on June 17, 2021. The letter also included information on next steps for Montgomery Planning to implement the street name changes as well as steps for property owners to take.

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