The Washington area abounds with street names that genuinely reflect the history of the region by preserving old family names: Veitch Street in Arlington, Sheriff Road in Washington, Veirs Mill Road in Montgomery County, Addison Road in Prince George's. Another such name popped into view yesterday in this newspaper's Virginia Weekly section: Utterback Store Road.
A controversy has developed, the article reported, over a proposal to install a traffic signal at Utterback Store Road and Old Georgetown Pike, decreasing -- as many residents see it -- the rural atmosphere of the community of Great Falls. The north-south road itself links Leesburg Pike with Old Georgetown Pike.
Somehow, Metro Scene supposed, the name Utterback Store Road reached back into the post-colonial period. Yesterday, talking to a couple of longtime Great Falls residents, we were disabused of that notion: Theodore T. Utterback, it develops, opened his small one-room store near the intersection mentioned above sometime after World War I and, ailing and by then having but one leg, he shut it down in the early 1950s. He has since died.
"It sold the basics -- bread, milk, sugar, penny candy," said Alice Utterback, operator of Great Falls Realty, whose husband Fred is a cousin of Theodore. "It had a pot-bellied stove where all of the men congregated every evening."
Milburn Sanders, the first president of the Great Falls Historical Society, voiced childhood memories of the store and of Utterback's role as the driver of the neighborhood school bus, a Ford Model T. He said his historical group has been trying, without success, to find a picture of the store.
The Utterbacks were among the first group of non-English-speaking Europeans, iron miners, who came to Virginia from Germany in 1714 and settled in Germanna, west of Fredericksburg. They moved to Fauquier County. Some remained in Northern Virginia, and others migrated to and through Kentucky.