Sunday, August 25, 2013

The street road in Bensalem

Well that mystery is solved. I mentioned yesterday that I wasn't sure why there was a road in the middle of Bensalem Township (where I spent my childhood) called Street Road. I thought that possibly it was named after someone with the last name of Street.

But no - and the confusion arises from the fact that back in the day "street" was a type of road, rather than being synonymous with "road."

Per Wiki:
The word street has its origins in the Latin strata (meaning "paved road" - abbreviation from via strata); it is thus related to stratum and stratification... In the Middle Ages, a road was a way people travelled, with street applied specifically to paved ways.
This would explain why the History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, from the discovery of the Delaware to the present time (1905) available at usually refers to it as "the Street road" as in:
In 1729 a road was petitioned for from the upper side of the township to  Dyer's mill, which now gave a continuous road to Philadelphia. In 1741 another was laid out from the Easton road above Danborough, via Sand's comer to Centreville, coming out on the Doylestown turnpike half a mile west of Centreville, and is now called the Street road. 
So apparently it was the street road because it was all fancy-schmancy paved. Apparently it didn't need a name because it was the major, if not the only, paved road in Bensalem and therefore a landmark.

I added this information to the Wiki article.