Special offer

What's in a road name?

Real Estate Agent with Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 PA License - AB067198

The names chosen for a development can be boring usually and other times they can be extremely interesting. Ever since moving to Big Elk we have wondered about the road names. Some are fairly obvious, but it is not till you do a little historical research that the others become meaningful.

For example our road Thomas Penn is quite obvious, son of William Penn who after his father died in 1718 travelled to Pennsylvania in 1732 to become the Proprietor of Pennsylvania. William, who had actually been in the Tower of London because of his Quaker views, had been given land in Pennsylvania in 1681 after a charter from Charles II.

His three sons inherited the land equally, and Thomas came to Pennsylvania in 1732 and negotiated with the Lenape Indians in 1737 to extend the land owned by the family by some 1.2 million acres, this land was added to the Province of Pennsylvania. It became evident later that Thomas had swindled the Indians who had been friendly towards his father when he was establishing the land initially. When his brother John died, he left his share to his brother Thomas who became the Chief Proprietor from 1745-1775 when he died. Thomas due to many of his actions of overturning legislation from the Pennsylvania General Assembly was not popular in the colony. Thomas married Lady Juliana Fermor in 1751 and had seven children.

Christiana Manor was probably named after Christiana Gulielma Penn born 1733 and lived till 1803.


Guglielma Springett was William Penn's first wife, and in fact in the history books her name is spelt Gulielma. Her father died just before she was born and her mother remarried Isaac Pennington. Gulielma met Willam Penn and went on to have several children.

  • Gulielma Maria b. 23 January 1673, d. 17 May 1673
  • William and Mary (twins) b. February 1674, d. May 1674 and December 1674
  • Springett b. 25 January 1675, d. 10 April 1696
  • Letitia b. 1 March 1678, d. 6 April 1746
  • William b. 14 March 1681, d. 23 June 1720
  • unnamed infant b. March 1683, d. April 1683
  • Gulielma Maria b. November 1685, d. November 1689

letitia manor driveLady Letitia Penn married William Aubrey who loaned William Penn her father money on extremely unfavourable terms and there was a lot of bitterness as a result. In fact her gravestone in England is marked as Letitia Penn. She had accompanied her father and his second wife to America before getting married in England. She was also given land in Northampton County k own as the Barony of Nazareth and her rent was one red rose annually to be presented to her brothers on June 24th. In fact the Red Rose Inn was the principal inn in the barony till 1783 and the land was sold to the Moravians in 1741.

I believe the land bought by Ryan/NVR was the Hood Farm, hence the obvious use of that name for the entrance road into the Big Elf development. 

Let me know if you know anything else about the people featured in our road names. History is always interesting.

And remember, if you are interested in buying a home in the development of Big Elk and want buyer representation, I can represent you as I live here and know the homes. Contact Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line and Chester County with Long & Foster Real Estate, office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, or email Nick@VandekarTeam.com.

Posted by


Nick Vandekar
Nick is a Tredyffrin Easttown Residential and Commercial REALTOR selling The Main Line, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties.

Giving you the confidence to make
the right decisions.

225 W Uwchlan Ave
Downingtown , PA 19335
Office 484-237-2055
Mobile: (610) 203-4543 [call or text me]
Email Me


My Blog


If you are buying or selling on or around
Tredyffrin Easttown or along the Main Line, 
I can help you, contact me.

Comments (24)

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Michael Jacobs yes, lots of repeat names in our area and a lot of Welsh names too.

Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI yes we have those too, Upper Gulph, Lower Gulph etc.

Nina Hollander, Broker it is fun to discover the story behind the story.

Dorie Dillard Austin TX it is fun unearthing the history of the people whose names are used.

Jan 31, 2023 10:59 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

what a fun little history lesson .. you really did some digging to unearth the story behind some of these! 

Jan 31, 2023 12:13 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Lise Howe I believe one of the women actually took over and ran Pennsylvania and was the first and only woman to have done that. But, when I went looking for the information today, I could not find it. 

Jan 31, 2023 01:22 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Oh, I LOVE sharing stories of the names of streets with clients and you've certainly got some fantastic stories for several of your streets, Nick. Are they all in the same neighborhood? I've noticed here that the communities carry a theme so, I thought maybe these were from one specific neighborhood.

Great history lesson - thank you - and thanks for attending our ZOOM calls. I always love seeing you on the calls!

Jan 31, 2023 04:31 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Nick I am so with you my only concern has been we have a street called ISIS? HMMMM they named it before it became a terrorist name so would that effect the values? HMMM

Jan 31, 2023 10:08 PM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Interesting what can be found from some research being done and it is often very interesting to find out how a street got its name.

Feb 01, 2023 04:31 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Interesting trail into history - apparently, people had so many children in the 1600s/1700s because they died so young. Of Gulielma's 8 children, 4 didn't make it to their first birthday, one didn't make it to their 4th birthday and only 2 lived past 21. Wow life was hard.

Feb 01, 2023 04:51 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - thanks for the history lessons! I think choosing the right street names keeps history alive and people are more likely to know and appreciate who those people were and how prominent they were to the city. 

When I lived in Chicago, I knew streets very well and could associate the name of the street with the person who was remembered. Those were the days when I used public tranportation and walked to most destinations. Sadly, after I moved to TX and went back home to visit my mom. I rented a car. I was lost. I was driving back home because my father passed away and we were having his funeral. I was lost. I had a hard time finding where to go because street names changed. Everything changed and I was mourning and lost.  

This is a great post rich with history. I hope you publish more. I think you found the right area to move to. New beginnings is so refreshing. There is always something to learn. Thank you for sharing. 

Feb 01, 2023 06:45 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Debe Maxwell, CRS these are all in our new neighborhood, Big Elk, and I reposted the blog into our Facebook neighborhood page. People were appreciative, although those living on Guglielma Springett hate having to learn how to spell the name even though it is wrongly spelt.

Endre Barath, Jr. yes, I can see that being a problem.

Brian England obviously whoever chose the names had done some research and wanted to tie this neighborhood into the Penn Family.

Kat Palmiotti yes, those days life expectancy was not high, much like places in the world today with high birth rates.

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP I used to be able to find my way around very well, but we all get so dependent upon apps in our phones that we lose those skills. I remember driving into a town where I had never been when on holiday as we had to change our rental car out. We had no idea where the office was, but I found it within minutes of arriving. I just seemed to have this sixth sense of which way to go to find places.

Feb 01, 2023 07:44 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Nick- what a fun, informative and interesting post!  I love looking at street names and wondering how they came about. When Larry was building, I wanted him to name a street after our dog but that never came about. 

Feb 02, 2023 05:11 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Feb 04, 2023 06:38 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Nick. Interesting history lesson. Living in Chicago, with the exception of a few streets never gave it much thought. We have a lot of honor street name signs over the street name. There is always a story behind them. Enjoy your day.

Feb 05, 2023 04:57 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

The Lenape Indians were well traveled as I know they had land in the New York state area as well.

Feb 05, 2023 09:14 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543  Great idea for a market report. Thankfully our  Kathy Streib Featured this as I missed it 

Feb 05, 2023 09:30 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Nick I'm so glad Kathy Streib featured your post!  It's so interesting! There is FB group on the history of where I grew up in MN.  I love reading all the interesting stories and facts from way back when....just not at far back as your history.




Feb 05, 2023 10:16 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Two road names in our area stand out for me: Redneck Road and Poverty Lane.

These names came about in the 90's, when the postal service decided every road needed a name. No more Route and box numbers. It caused a lot of confusion for UPS and FedEx drivers for a while.

Redneck Road stands out because a couple from California purchased a home there and immediately started trying to get the County to change it. Why did they buy there if they hated it?

As for Poverty Lane - what on earth were the residents thinking when they came up with that one? I'd call that a severe misuse of the Law of Attraction!

Feb 05, 2023 12:16 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Kathy Streib what a shame, I am sure it would have been a popular road name. And thank you once again for featuring one of my posts.

Wayne Martin I am glad we do not live on Guglielma Springett, imagine trying to spell that for everyone you have to give your address to.

Ed Silva they did bring a law suit later as the Penn family it seems did cheat them, but the case was dismissed.

Hannah Williams I posted this to our facebook group, everyone loved learning the history.

Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker always fascinated to learn something new. I jsut had to look up about these names.

Feb 06, 2023 08:21 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Marte Cliff I would definitely avoid those, we had one road near us in my old house that was called Contention Lane, that is one I would avoid.

Feb 06, 2023 08:22 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Nick:

What a fun look at local road names and the history. I was familiar with some of the William Penn history from having grown up in the area.


Feb 06, 2023 04:51 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Jeff Dowler, CRS I had not realized how his children had been involved as well. Interesting to uncover.

Feb 07, 2023 07:03 AM