Finding left from right on the streets of Lynn

Pictured are what appear to be conflicting street signs off Ocean Street in Lynn.


LYNN — The City of Lynn was settled more than three centuries ago; more than enough time for streets and buildings to develop some unusual nomenclature.

There’s the baffling intersection of Ocean Park and Greenleaf Circle, where two signs are posted on top of each other, making it difficult to determine where one street ends and the other begins.

“So where’s Greenleaf?” asked service professional Bruce Vining as he walked up the street, squinting at the signs. “It’s confusing. People should be aware of this.”

“We get a lot of people lost here,” said State Rep. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn), who explained that Greenleaf, which connects to Nahant Street, is the name of the original cul-de-sac that existed before the development of Ocean Park.

The city also boasts Lover’s Leap and Dungeon avenues. In East Lynn, resident John Nicholson said he doesn’t know anyone named Patty on Patty’s Way.

There’s a presidential theme going on near the Saugus line, with streets named for Washington, Hayes, Harrison, Cleveland and Garfield.

Real estate agent Steven White was holding an open house for a property in the Diamond District on Tuesday, an area named for the wealth of its inhabitants, many of whom made their fortunes in the shoe industry.

A Marblehead resident, White said his town has its share of interesting names, like Gingerbread Hill.

Without leaving the eastern part of Lynn, residents can visit the Great Lakes as well; at least Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie. Ontario Street is located farther inland, near Gallagher Park.

The question is whether the names have anything to do with the flooding that has historically occurred on the lake-themed streets, or if it’s merely a coincidence.

“I’ve lived in the area for 60 years and they’ve always had those names. I really don’t know why,” said Richard Coppinger, a former Ward 3 councilor.

Coppinger said a trek through Pine Grove Cemetery reveals a correlation between gravestones and street names.

The surnames of city pioneers such as Breed, Mudge, Newhall and Chase can be found on street signs as well as in the older areas of the cemetery, he said.

Coppinger said that of the names the city has to offer, however, he’s particularly fond of condo and apartment complexes with classic titles like the Breakers and the Biltmore.

Leah Dearborn can be reached at [email protected]

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