minutia press.
What's in a name?

I went to school in Dallas, Texas, and the schools in that city are predominatly named after famous people. So I started in John J. Pershing elementary school, and I learend about Pershing's service to our country. I segued to Ewell D. Walker middle school, but I was only there for one year, and my recollection is that he had something to do with our school system and sports. I then went on to Benjamin Franklin junior high, and we know all about him. My high school was named after the street on which it was located, which brings me to the point of this post.

Here in St Louis, in our district as in most others, almost every school is named after the street on which it's located, as if that has some deep meaning. Maybe this simplifies finding the place, but such naming schemes rob our students of an opportunity to learn about famous people, particularly from this area. Exceptions include Reed elementary, which used to be "Little Ladue". They changed the name to honor its long-time principal, and I'd like to see more of this sort of thing happen. The only other exception is the high school, which is named Ladue Horton Watkins High School.

In the Parkway district, schools are named after compass points, so we have Parkway East, Parkway Central, Parkway North, etc.

In New York City, schools are named after famous numbers, so you have P.S. 187 (public school 187). Scholars of gammatria can probably find significance in the number 187, but for the rest of us, this seems like ordinal nonsense.

Back to Ladue Horton Watkins High School. Who was Horton Watkins? A look at the school's web site provides no clues. We do see that the school is not named after its location, as it is on Warson Road. Shouldn't we be able to find this sort of thing out easily? Try asking some students who go there. They have no idea.

I heard once, long ago, that Horton Watkins gave the land to the school district for the high school. If so he deserves some kind of recognition for his philanthropy.