Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pick a Letter, Any Letter, Just Not J

In my free time [OK, I'm back, I had to stop laughing for about ten minutes], I have this dream of publishing a book. I have about 200 pages of a novel done, it just needs some final tweaking and a few more gaps to fill. I also have at least two ideas for non-fiction books, one of which involves the naming convention surrounding the Washington street grid. When I first moved here, I found it fascinating as to how the streets were lettered, followed by a system of words (one syllable, two syllables, and finally three syllables). Then of course, there is the placement of the state streets.

One thing I questioned early on was the absence of a "J" street. "I" Street, yes - followed by "K" Street. So why did J get screwed? The answer I was given was that I and J were too alike for both to be used. Yeah, OK, whatever.

But it evidently turns out to be true. But this post from We Love DC looks at the omission of J Street (along with the absence of X, Y, and Z Streets), which was not based on Pierre L'Enfant's desire to insult John Jay, although that story is certainly much more fun.