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Roads renamed for race legends

Effort celebrates heritage of city

POSTED: July 24, 2013 4:00 a.m.

Several streets in downtown Dawsonville soon will sport names that reflect the city's unique and nationally recognized auto racing heritage.

One of the first steps in the plan to revitalize the downtown area, streets currently identified by numbers have been renamed to honor eight men with local ties to victory at Daytona's famed tracks.

"This is our history. There ain't a big town in the whole United States that can say they have eight men that have a total of 27 Daytona wins, and this little, tiny town can," said Gordon Pirkle, a local racing historian and revitalization committee member who led the renaming charge.

"We all ought to be proud we can say that."

Among those who will be celebrated on street signs are Ted Chester, Bill Elliott, Roy Hall, Bernard Long, Harry Melling, Raymond Parks, Lloyd Seay and Gober Sosebee. Their names will replace First-Fourth streets.

"I feel good because they are just numbers that we're changing," Pirkle said. "I wouldn't dare change the streets named after our local families. It's not taking away that part of our history. We'll be honoring another part of our history."

The city is in the process of ordering the signs and has plans to hold a formal unveiling ceremony within the next few weeks.

Placards will also be on display on the street sign poles highlighting each man's wins and racing accomplishments, according to city officials.

"It is a means of identification of all the Dawsonville people who contributed so much to our community through their moonshining and racing skills," said Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan. "This was the start of NASCAR as we know it today."

Grogan said the renaming effort could be economic fuel for the downtown area, a major objective in the town's revitalization project.

"This will be a photo opportunity for anyone coming to our town. They will also be walking around town to do that, and shopping and eating at our businesses," he said.

 

 

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