Old Slave Road in Wildwood will keep its controversial name, at least for now.
After hearing comments from more than a dozen residents and other interested parties Monday night, the Wildwood City Council failed to draft a resolution to change the road's name. Several residents who live along the road had pushed to rename it Elijah Madison Lane, after an escaped slave and Civil War veteran.
Aside from a handful of homes, Old Slave Road also leads to the Old Slave Cemetery, where more than 60 slaves are buried.
For now Old Slave Road,a private street in Wildwood, will retain its name.
The Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis reports a city council committee is recommending that the town keep Old Slave Road as the name of a private street. The city council has the final say.
Wildwood’s Administration/Public Works Committee voted 6-1 last week to keep the name.
One resident, Karen Fox, who lives on Old Slave Road, filed paperwork in October to change the name to Elijah Madison Lane.
Some have said the Old Slave Road name honors the area’s history and the black families who lived there descendants of slaves who came to the area from Virginia in 1837. Others find the name offensive.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Historic Preservation Commission in Wildwood is considering whether to recommend a name change.
Residents who live along the road complain that the name tends to offend people. Opponents say residents are trying to sanitize history.
Spanning just six-tenths of a mile, the private street used to be the main road to a planation home and runs past a historic slave cemetery.
Historic Preservation Commission chairman Lynne Martin says the current name dates only from about 1979, when a developer platted the subdivision along the road.
Most of the property owners are recommending renaming it Elijah Madison Lane to recognize a former slave who fought in the Civil War.