Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Why don't they just rename Kansas City's Union Station after Harry Truman?

Re: "Should Union Station become Harry S. Truman Union Station?," from the Washington Business Journal, I am a big fan of former president Harry Truman, but I am not a fan of renaming civic infrastructure for political reasons.

For example, I prefer Washington National Airport to Reagan Airport, BWI Airport to Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport, and hate that the Northern Central Railroad Trail, which the trail line follows from Baltimore County to York, Pennsylvania was renamed the Torrey C. Brown Trail* and the NCR name was completely junked, because the meaning of those facilities are embodied in what they do and their history, not in the renaming for people especially when the people for which the facility is renamed may have little if any connection to the facility.

I also don't think that every president needs a memorial in DC.

Image of the Kansas City Union Station with the city skyline in the background by JBEZ.

Truman came to political prominence in Missouri, and in Kansas City particularly, where he was selected by the Prendergast Machine to be senator.

Kansas City also has a Union Station.  Why not name it after Harry Truman?

(* Torrey C. Brown helped create the NCR Trail as a public official but renaming it for him and dropping the geographically-specific meaning in its favor is a mistake.  There are lots of bridges named in honor of political officials in Maryland, but they don't rename the road.  Honor people as a subsidiary name to the main title.  It's not like we name transit stations after people rather than places.)

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At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree- this renaming things is almost bananna republic / third world and smacks of propaganda efforts akin to the old Soviet Union- no matter if it is leftist or rightist its all the same. Leave the plain old names in place. Good call.

At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this!! Sure you must have seen it... EE

Don’t Rename Union Station for Truman. Rename These Places. Posted by Perry Stein

May. 8, 2014 at 11:33 am

The senators from Missouri—Claire McCaskill (D) and Roy Blunt (R)—are introducing legislation today that would rename Union Station after PresidentHarry Truman, the 33rd president who just so happens to be from the Show-Me-State.
Union Station is federal property, so these senators are well within their rights to try and rename it. But we think they can do better than Union Station. We've compiled a list of more appropriate D.C. landmarks to rename in his honor. (We realize that not all of these are on federal property, but we're sure Congress could convince these fine establishments to honor the president.)
The Ravioli Revolution
Besides the Arch and Chuck Berry, toasted ravioli is one of Missouri's great identifiers. The Ravioli Revolution, which operates out of Union Kitchen, should be renamed: The Truman Ravioli Revolution.
The Spy Museum
The CIA was founded during Truman's presidency. Let's allow Truman to have a little more fun than just having his name slapped on a government office building. The Spy Museum should be renamed: The Truman Museum.
LensCrafters Optique at 1130 Connecticut Ave. NW
Poor eyesight dashed Truman's dreams of attending West Point. Honor him and all those who seek to improve sight. LensCrafters Optique should be renamed: The Harry S Truman LensCrafters Optique.
Missouri Avenue
Truman is from Missouri. Missouri Avenue should be renamed: Harry S Truman Is From Missouri Avenue.
Marshalls at 529 14th St. NW
Part of the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan was instrumental in rebuilding Europe after World War II. The Marshalls discount clothing store should be renamed: The Harry S Truman Marshalls (Plan).
MacArthur Boulevard
Truman's firing of General Douglas MacArthur in 1951 was tremendously unpopular, but it did lead to MacArthur giving an address to Congress that Truman called "a bunch of damn bullshit," which is awesome. Rename MacArthur Boulevard: Harry S Truman Fired General Douglas MacArthur Boulevard.


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