Remonikered Corner To Honor Newhallville Pastor
by Allan Appel | Nov 17, 2011 1:26 pm
Posted to: Newhallville
What’s in a street name? Quite a bit, according to the 352 people who signed a petition to designate one of the corners at the intersection of Read and Butler in Newhallville “Reverend Doctor Thomas J. Donelson Corner.”
The resolution, introduced by Newhallville Alderman Charles Blango, is on its way for formal approval by the Board of Aldermen. It came before the City Plan Commission Wednesday night and passed unanimously.
Under city ordinances, 250 residents, with at least two thirds from the affected neighborhood, must sign a petition in favor of a corner naming.
A hundred more than that requirement signed petitions. The names were gathered among the members of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church near the designated intersection and from the surrounding neighborhood.
Donelson served the church and the city for 46 years after returning from World War II service as a parachute squadron sergeant who participated in the D-Day Normandy landings, according to documents submitted by Alderman Blango.
He died at 92 years in 2009. Click here to read his obituary.
Petition-signer James Howard, a three-decade-long Newhalville resident who lives on the northeast corner of the Read and Butler intersection, said he personally had not known Rev. Donelson or heard him preach.
“I know half the congregation. If they go the same church in their 20s and [are still going in their] 50s, rain, sleet, and snow, he deserves it,” he said.
The current street signs will not be removed, but added to with an honorific signpost.
According to the resolution, the designation of the corner in perpetuity will help make Donelson’s “legacy in New Haven’s Newhalville neighborhood stand as an official and permanent reminder of integrity, generosity, and dignity, especially at this time as our community is in need of inspiration.”
Read Street is named after Theodore Read, who bought land in Newhalville and operated a dry goods store downtown. Butler is civil engineer Sylvanus Butler who helped to lay out the street grid in the area, according to historian Doris B. Townshend in her The Streets of New Haven.