Vienna’s Wade Hampton Drive to become Liberty Lane

Wade Hampton Drive in Vienna (via Google Maps)

Say goodbye to Wade Hampton Drive, because by July, the name will be a relic like Jefferson Davis Highway.

The Vienna Town Council voted unanimously after a public hearing last night (Monday) to rename the Maple Avenue side street Liberty Lane, removing the moniker of Confederate Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton III.

The council also decided to reimburse the residents living along the road for the issues the renaming will cause and set a date for when the changeover will be complete.

The consensus among the Wade Hampton residents who spoke at the public hearing was that while a name change would be disruptive, requiring them to file address changes with various governmental and business entities, they understood and supported the move.

“It was a wrong done many years ago, and the Town of Vienna has to take some blame for it, and it should be righted,” Wade Hampton resident Sharon Pott said of naming a street after Hampton.

Identifying herself as a resident of Wade Hampton for close to 42 years, Pott said she supports renaming the road but noted that “it’s going to require quite a lot of effort on everybody’s part.”

Several Wade Hampton residents advocated for changing the name to Roland Street, which would connect it to an existing road in the neighborhood, but others objected to that name as well.

DeArmond Carter, a member of the nonprofit Historic Vienna who initiated the push to rename Wade Hampton Drive, expressed opposition to the potential namesake of the road, J.B. Roland, saying he held racist views and sympathies to the Confederacy.

“Continuing Roland Street would be an insult to Vienna’s African American community,” she said, recommending that the road instead take her family’s name in recognition of their 160-year history in the community.

Other residents preferred Liberty Lane as the replacement, citing the Town of Vienna’s role in getting Virginia to ratify Liberty Amendments Month as an annual celebration.

With the unanimously approved motion, the town council agreed that residents living on that road should be reimbursed $500 for the inconvenience, and that the changeover should go into effect on July 4.

“I didn’t want to go too cheap and I didn’t want to make it look like we were paying the residents off to make the change,” Councilmember Chuck Anderson said when some council members questioned the amount of the reimbursement. “I wanted to have a number that would start a conversation. It’s going to take time to find out what needs to be done to make the transition of changing the name.”

City staff will work with residents over the next four months to help them with the change.

Photo via Google Maps

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