I live in Highgate Manor. My family moved here 30 years ago, and we hardly gave a thought to our development’s name. Who cared. It’s not part of our mailing address and has been useful only in giving locals an idea of where we lived.
“You’re in Kendall Park? Where?”
“Ah, off 27 by the Sunoco?”
That didn’t work with anyone outside Kendall Park, of course. But interestingly, no one has ever said, “Oooh, you live in a manor?” No one would be so dumb.
Highgate Manor has manors about as much as Wetherhill Plantation has cotton fields or Timber Ponds has even one pond. These development names are a big, fat lie for the most part, a pretty useless convention that nevertheless allows someone in some construction office to have fun with words.
There are exceptions now and again; I’m fully aware of that. To my shock I discovered that Hidden Lake does indeed have a lake, and unless you know where to look for it, it’s quite hidden. I wonder how many residents are even aware of its existence.
Anyway. I sometimes get to wondering how these developments get named in the first place. The township doesn’t seem to care much except proscribing names already in use and naughty words. I have my suspicion, borne out by the previously mentioned fact that the namer clearly never set foot on the property before naming it.
There is a rhyme and reason. Kinda.
Here’s my theory: Someone in the real estate developer’s office makes one list of random flowery adjectives and a second list of peaceful-sounding nouns. The two lists are shuffled in no particular order to come up with plausible development names that are otherwise not linked to reality. How else does one explain Alavon Watch or Fresh Impressions or flat-as-a-pancake Brunswick Heights?
I decided to whip up a list of name pairings and throw it up on the internets for anyone to use as they wish. I won’t monetize it in any way; my reward will be seeing how many of them will be appropriated and actually pass scrutiny before making it onto municipal maps. Just a sampling:
- Mordant Meadows — Sounds so peaceful! Perfect for a crotchety adult community.
- Listless Lakes — The sibilance alone is a selling point. So quiet. Too quiet…
- Contagion Cottages — Are the streets always this empty here?
- Lavender Lesions — Worth a look. Worth having someone take a look at them as well.
- Rumor Mill — Set alongside the babbling Tittle-Tattle Brook.
- Grassy Gulch — Everyone mows their own lawn here, wearing HOA-issued cowboy hats.
- Anchovy Acres — Not for everyone. You either love it or hate it here.
- Whining Woods — A community of young parents. Walking distance to several bars.
- Heaven’s Gate — If you get this one, you moved here in 1980 and have lost every penny of your investment.
- Wheezing Willows — An inactive adult community of ex-smokers.
- New Development — Named late on a Friday afternoon by the same person who named New Road.