81st streets

“The first couple of years here we kept directing people, especially the pizza delivery folks, because they’d get lost. At this point, it doesn’t matter anymore,” said Dr. Judith Witt, of life at 81st and 81st.

With all the new housing developments cropping up in the communities of Victoria and Carver, the question came to mind about how new streets in those developments get named.

As it turns out, it’s relatively simple.

On the other hand, it’s not been so simple for one couple in Victoria.

Meet Dr. Judith Witt and her husband Michael Johnson.

They have lived 31 years at the same location — the corner of 81st Street and 81st Street.

“Yes, we live at the intersection of 81st Street and 81st Street,” Witt said during a recent visit to the residence. “And the people on that side are Olson and the first people who lived over there were Olson, so we lived at the intersection of 81st and 81st between Olson and Olson!”

Witt did her best to describe the curvature and directions of 81st Street before giving a bit of a shrug.

“It certainly is confusing,” she said with a smile. “The first couple of years here we kept directing people, especially the pizza delivery folks, because they’d get lost. At this point, it doesn’t matter anymore.”

When asked about street names in the city, Witt mentioned “the flower streets” before ending the brief conversation from her doorway and a safe social distance.

Those flower street names include Orchid, Petunia, Lilac and Rose, along with Daylily and Iris. But the city also has Narcissus and Quamoclit.

When asked what either name stood for, Jim Hasbeit, who was taking a stroll in downtown Victoria, had no idea.

“Isn’t one about a kind of family; one that has a few problems? I’m not sure about the other,” he responded.

You mean a narcissist?

“Yah, that’s it,” Hasbeit said. “Well, that’s my guess. Or it’s somebody’s last name.”

It was noted that a narcissist is considered someone with an inflated view of self importance.

“Hey, I think they should consider having a street with that name because I know plenty of people who should live there,” Hasbeit offered with a laugh.

As it turns out, narcissus is a flower with an interesting mythological story. As it goes, Nemesis, the Greek goddess of revenge, cursed Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection. Eventually, Narcissus drowned and turned into a flower that carries that name.

And quamoclit, native to tropical America, is a vine with fern-like foliage and scarlet flowers.


Developers routinely submit street names on plans, according to Marty Doll, community and economic development director for Victoria, and Erin Smith, city planner for Carver.

“My understanding is that if the development has some preferences of names, that the city will take those into consideration as long as they fit in with the character of the existing streets,” Doll said.

“In one development that has a lot of horse-related terms, the city named a couple of private inlet drives Canter Court and Trotter Trail to stay in line with that theme,” he said.

“It typically goes pretty smooth,” Smith said, about developers suggesting street names on their residential building plans and the Carver City Council approving them. “The city might incorporate some historical names, but mostly the city goes along with the developers.”

Those historical names include Levi Griffin Road, named after a community founder, and Monroe Drive, named after former longtime councilor Cindy Monroe. Also, the city staff/council decided to have a street in the Hawthorne Ridge development named after the Redmond family, which owned the property for many years, according to Smith.

Developers contacted in the Carver and Victoria areas did not return requests for comment.

“I’ve heard of streets named after flowers, presidents, trees, fish and even colors,” said Mary Johanish, of Waconia, as she sat on a park bench in Carver. “I like the family, personal names, which make me wonder who they were.

“Sometimes places can get a bit too inventive though,” she added before breaking into a smile. “I used to live on a street called Blushing Bride Lane until the name was changed years ago. How’d you like to put that down as a return address?”

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.


Recommended for you