Reader Holland also provides an amusing anecdote related to the naming of Oyster School, which still functions in Northwest Washington. It was not named for the succulent mollusk for which Chincoteague is famous.
But first, we digress: When, in 1921 the tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated in Arlington Cemetery, there occurred one of the worst traffic jams in Washington history, before or since. Chief Justice William Howard Taft was one of those stuck in traffic trying to get across the 14th Street bridge.
In the wake of the crush, Holland recalls, a Washington paper carried an inscrutable banner headline: Oyster Bars Jam Probe.
A British visitor to Holland's household was fascinated. "Now don't tell me, don't tell me," he said, puzzling out the relationship between an oyster bar, jam and a probe, and viewing all of them literally. Then he gave up.
The sense of it was that James F. Oyster, president of the D.C. Board of Commissioners, had forbidden an investigation of the traffic jam. One was held by Congress, anyway.
So, to stitch the pieces together, Oyster School was named for a Washington native who was president of the D.C. Board of Education for six years in the early 1900s and later, from his appointment by President Harding in 1921 to his death in 1925, headed the three-member board that governs this city.