With the help of the City of Asheville and the Kenilworth Residents’ Association (KRA), RiverLink’s Name That Creek program is set to name a new stream. This one flows through the Kenilworth neighborhood, which is located between downtown Asheville, Biltmore Village and Biltmore Estate.
Name That Creek is a long-time project whereby RiverLink asks local neighborhoods to propose names and the Asheville community to then vote for the most fitting name.
The Kenilworth neighborhood is bordered by Tunnel Road on the east, Swannanoa River Road on the south, and Biltmore Avenue on the west, and situated on high land above the Swannanoa River. Touted as Asheville’s “pioneer suburb,” Kenilworth was founded in 1914, born a town before it was annexed by the City of Asheville in 1929. The stream up for naming flows southward along Norfolk Street, and continues under Wyoming Road and Kenilworth Park.
The KRA is committed to enhancing the quality, safety, and beauty of the neighborhood. Informal discussion about the stream-naming among volunteers working on a litter cleanup project this spring led to an agenda item on the KRA board meeting. The concept was met with approval among board members and an investigation of how this might be done resulted. Three proposed names were approved by consensus in a June, 2016 board meeting.
Three names were suggested by the residents, and can be voted on through an online survey, open through Sept. 30. The candidates are:
- Louise Gibson Creek: The Gibson family lived and farmed for many years on the land where the stream begins. Louise Gibson was born in 1928 in what is now part of the Kenilworth community. She and her husband George lived on the south slope of Beaucatcher Mountain where they farmed, tended chickens and cows, and raised their family of five. Louise Gibson passed away in 2009. Naming this stream for Mrs. Gibson is fitting given the family’s long residence on this land and their leadership at St. John ‘A’ Baptist Church. The Gibsons’ active support of the South Asheville Cemetery Association, formed to preserve the first African American cemetery in Asheville, has been critical in its success.
- Beaucatcher Branch: Beaucatcher Mountain, just north of the neighborhood, is a very prominent landmark in Asheville providing outstanding views both to the east and to the west. Beaucatcher Mountain bears a tunnel through the mountain (1927) to Asheville. Next, a significant cut was created (1980) to allow Interstate 240 to pass through and easy access to roadways both east and west resulted.
- Norfolk Run: This stream, also known as a run (from the word runnel: small stream) borders the quiet Kenilworth street named Norfolk. There are only six residences on Norfolk Street and naming this quiet waterway for it will help establish the name of Norfolk in this old neighborhood. It was possibly named Norfolk for the county in East Anglia (England) and is in keeping with the English theme of Kenilworth in its founding early in the 20th century.
After a name is chosen, Asheville City Council would vote to have it submitted to the United States Geological Survey Board of Geographical Names. If approved, it eventually would become the official name for the creek.
Since the project’s inception, RiverLink has sponsored four successful creek name changes with the help of community volunteers:
- Buttermilk Creek, a tributary of Hominy Creek in West Asheville;
- Big Branch, a tributary of Reems Creek in Weaverville;
- Penland Creek, which runs through the New Belgium Brewery; and
- Fox Creek, a tributary of Smith Mill Creek in West Asheville.
For more information, contact Dave Russell at RiverLink, 828-252-8474, Ext. 11, or firstname.lastname@example.org.