The naming powers of housing builders

southlakeversailles.jpg

I am collecting interesting names of subdivisions, apartment complexes and gated communities in my area of Texas. It seems that land development and construction around here has gotten so busy that builders are running out of names for their creations. After a series of Mira Lagos, Sleepy Hollow and Blueberry Hills, what’s next in terms of names for blueberry-less, lake-less, and hollow-less neighborhoods? Some of them have a hidden meaning that I wonder if it has been really considered by those who picked them or who chose to live there. Here is a shortlist:

Sherwood Forest. I am puzzled how and why the developers came up with this name for their subdivision. Maybe they thought: “Now there is a bunch of people who would kill to live in a place with a classy sound to its name, like Sherwood Forest”… Or put this in the advertising pamphlet: “Those who consider themselves adventurous and assertive in today’s competitive world would feel at home in Sherwood Forest. We’ve created one for them.” If you choose to live there, how does giving directions sound to your friends when you invite them to a party: “I live in Sherwood Forest, just turn left at the main entrance…”

Versailles of Southlake. Behind the tall walls, a curious passerby can peek and see a boring if pricey housing development with a clubhouse, tennis court, etc. Why Versailles then? What is so versaillesque in this accumulation of fresh construction? My guess is the builders just thought Versailles was a synonym of upscale luxury. And the wealthy inhabitants of Versailles of Southlake didn’t take history in high school and never associate the name of their own place of dwelling with the uprising of hungry Parisian masses who barged into the secluded royal palace, or with the gruesome fate of Marie Antoinette…

Franciscan Apartments. Did the creators of this apartment complex, complete with a swimming pool, a bbq grill, a fitness center, have any idea about the Franciscan ideal of poverty? Maybe they named this community as a Franciscan monastery to give it an air of asceticism and deprivation, prayer and forced seclusion (the controlled-access gate!). In this case, the swimming pool must be open only in the winter at subzero temperatures to crush the temptation of the flesh, the fitness center trains residents to walk barefoot everywhere at all times, the grill produces stigmata in spiritual followers, the garden is the place where St. Francis preached to the birds and wild animals (squirrels and frogs in this case).

The research of meaningful names continues…

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2 responses to “The naming powers of housing builders

  1. What a great project! Versailles – what a choice! I’m looking forward to more hearing about ridiculous names…and I’ll keep a look out for equally bizarre ones in this part of the world…

  2. There is plenty of material for such names around here, and a second installment is forthcoming! But now I am curious about names in your corner of the world. đŸ™‚

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