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Denton history preserved through street topper program

Denton history preserved through street topper program

Denton history preserved through street topper program
September 16
15:00 2022

A new program in Denton neighborhoods is putting historic toppers on the existing street signs.

Called the Street Sign Topper Program, the goal of the program is to indicate the identity or significant element of a neighborhood or district. Some Denton residents only refer to their communities by street names or landmarks. The original names of these neighborhoods are being lost and, with them, the attached history.

Denton City Council approved the program in hopes it will garner more interest in improving the local neighborhoods. Many residents are excited about the new additions to their streets.

North Texas native and business major Ke’Airra Eurine recalls the history of her neighborhood in Tyler, Texas, 0riginally named the Azalea district.

“The notable Steward Clyde house was one of the first to see its own Azaleas bloom,” Eurine said. 

While many may know the general history of Denton, the little stories that make the city unique can often remain hidden. The goal of the program is to tell the story of Denton through the lens of people who make it unique.

“It’s supposed to create a sense of place and a sense of belonging for the neighborhoods in Denton,” historic preservation officer Cameron Roberts said in a promotional video.

This program was proposed in fall 2021 by Historic Denton Inc., a local nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Denton’s history, in partnership with the city of Denton. 

The city’s Traffic Operations team proposed a budget that would allow a maximum of 10 neighborhoods, districts and developments per year to receive at most 25 signs. This adds 250 signs per year to the sign inventory, allowing each neighborhood to hold five signs at the Traffic Operations office in the case of theft or accidents. If the neighborhoods wish to have more than 25 signs, they must pay the difference.

Another organization involved, the Visual Arts Society of Texas, requested local artists to create the designs for each sign, inspired by the names and history of the original neighborhoods.

“I think that also connects people to the community more because it’s like when you see somebody’s work and can be like, ‘Oh, I know that guy,’” psychology freshman Mia Hammack said. “It makes you feel more connected.”

Each sign contains one graphic approved by the city and the neighborhood referenced. From the array of designs submitted, members of the neighborhoods chose which one was most representative of their community.

Approved designs must follow guidelines provided by the city so they are not confusing to drivers and pedestrians alike. These guidelines include approved background colors, font sizes and more.

So far, six neighborhoods have had the toppers installed. The plan for each neighborhood is unique and ties into its specific past.

Several neighborhoods in southeast Denton, around the Solomon Hill area, will have signs that allude to the original Quaker town. They will feature photos of people who lived there, such as the people the streets were named after.

Idiot’s Hill consists of four neighborhoods, the names of which are often forgotten by the general public. The proposed plan by Historic Denton is to incorporate the original boundaries and names of the four neighborhoods into the new signs.

The John B. Denton College Neighborhood will have signs highlighting the original college and its impact on the area.

Other neighborhoods, such as the Original Town of Denton, National Register and the Denia Neighborhood, will also be included in the program.

“We hope to see more coming up in the upcoming months,” Roberts said.

The program is still in progress in hopes of encouraging curiosity and appreciation for the historical neighborhoods and communities that make up the city. Denton residents have an opportunity to contribute to the program on Nov. 6 at the community input meeting.

Featured Image: The Historic Solomon Hill street sign sits at the corner of S. Crawford Street and E. Mulberry Street on Sept. 8, 2022. Photo by Charles Farmer

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Jadyn Turner

Jadyn Turner

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