An attempt to preserve local history has taken a bit of a wrong turn. At least, for some Vigo County residents.
It involves changing the name of Bowen Drive to Darwin Ferry Road.
The Vigo County area planning department says they changed the street name to restore a piece of history for local residents. But for those who live along the road, it’s actually causing more of a headache than a heartwarming.
The Darwin Ferry is the only surviving river ferry still operating on the Wabash River. Just a little ways down the road from the ferry lives Kimberly Phillips, who’s now in the middle of an unexpected change of address.
“We were notified by area planning that they were changing it due to historical factors to Darwin Ferry Road,” says Phillips.
But within a week, she received another letter that her address would change again.
“The letter said, to facilitate e911 services. The street name must be West Darwin Ferry Drive. Sorry for the inconvenience,’ ” says Phillips.
The Vigo County Area Planning Department says they changed the street name in order to preserve the ferry’s long history, important to residents who live there.
“I had never been [to the ferry], and I’m actually a person who grew up in Prairie Creek, and always heard of the Darwin Ferry name, but didn’t know much more about it,” says Phillips.
Phillips says between missing mail, working with their mortgage company, and new driver’s licenses for her family, it’s been a bit stressful–and expensive.
Especially expensive for her neighbor, James Smith, who has a business on that road.
“It is going to be expensive for everybody. For people like ourselves that have invested in our advertising, and our brochures, our business, letterheads,” says Smith, owner of Prairie Creek Auction.
Smith says he would have liked to have some input.
“I believe the people on this road that is affected should have been consulted by area planning before they decided to go ahead and change it,” says Smith.
All of the residents WTWO spoke with said they weren’t entirely against the name change. They just would have liked to know it was happening.
We reached out to the area planning department, but they declined to interview. They stated again, over the phone, that the decision was made to restore local history.