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Residents want to preserve Pig Street

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POTSDAM — A three-mile stretch of dirt road has sparked a debate about the importance of the region’s history.

Vernon L. “Tunk” Bartlett lived on Pig Street when he was a child, from 1929 to 1936, walking to school with his dog every day. Now, some members of the Norwood Lake Association say they want to change the name of the street, which connects River Road and Route 345.

“They don’t like the name Pig Street associated with the lake,” said Mr. Bartlett, who now lives in Norwood.

He remembers the stories his grandmother told him when he was a child, of the soldiers from the early 1800’s who named the street because of the large number of pigs kept by the farmers who lived on the road.

Norwood Mayor and head of the Norwood Lake Association James H. McFaddin said members have discussed changing the name, but there are no immediate plans to take action.

Several of the streets near the lake were renamed in the 1980’s to make them more tourist-friendly as Norwood tried to make the lake a more attractive place to visit. Thus Cemetery Road became Lakeshore Drive, but Pig Street remained unchanged.

“We gave them names that we thought were appropriate for the area,” Mr. McFaddin said.

There was talk of changing Pig Street as well, but it never happened. Now the issue is being discussed again.

“I’d rather not see it happen,” said Lloyd E. Besaw, who both lives on Pig Street and runs a sawmill there, the road’s only business. “People don’t know the history behind this area.”

Mr. Besaw said he can still use his metal detector to find antique silverware along the road, left behind by the soldiers who travelled it as part of a military turnpike during marches between Plattsburgh and Ogdensburg.

There are only 12 homes on Pig Street, along with Mr. Besaw’s sawmill.

Mr. Besaw and Mr. Bartlett agree that the road’s history should be taken into account before any decision is made regarding it.

“All I wanted to do was get across to people the way it got this name,” Mr. Bartlett said.

Mr. McFaddin said any plans to change the name would need the approval of those who live there.

“We would need the support of the residents who live on the street,” he said.

According to Mr. Besaw, that’s not likely to happen.

“They’re trying to promote the area, which is good, but don’t fix something that ain’t broke,” he said.

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