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These folks have never, to my knowledge, played in New Hampshire.
Thursday, December 5, 2013

You know what NH needs? It needs a 'corpse road'

New Hampshire has a few historical tidbits luring amid road names - the "bridle path" trail that leads to AMC's Greenleaf Hut in the White Mountains, and closer to me there's "Francestown Turnpike", a name that dates from when this straight-as-an-arrow road was blocked by a pike that was turned aside when you paid the toll to private investors.

What we don't have, though, is a "corpse road".

That wonderful name is given to paths built in Britain in olden days so people in far-flung farmhouses could take loved ones to their final resting place in the cemetery of their parish church. New Hampshire has a lot of history involving far-flung homes and churches (my town, Mont Vernon, broke off from Amherst because we were too far away from their church) but nary a pathway called "corpse road." Our loss.

The term seems to be limited to Britain, where it's popular enough that there's a band called Old Corpse Road. A little googling cannot find any road by that name in the US; a search through the Geographic Names Information System from USGS finds exactly one location in the nation with "corpse" in its official name: Corpse Pond in Michigan. I'd love to know its story.

If I ever make a zillion dollars, I'm going to develop a subdivision just so I can name the street "Corpse Road."

I stumbled on this odd tidbit, incidentally, while editing Wikipedia. Such serendipity is the main reason that I'm still tweaking articles in that online encyclopedia after more than a decade - it's weirdly fun.

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