Photo: Steven Wheelwright (right) with Glenn Clancy before the Board of Selectmen.
Good-bye Frontage Road. Hello Hinckley Way.
Belmont will soon have a new street name for the roadway best known as the exit ramp from Route 2 as members of the town’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints community filled the Board of Selectmen’s Room on Monday, Oct. 16 to support changing the byway’s moniker to Hinckley Way.
Glenn Clancey, director of the Office of Community Development, said the “new” road will run from the end of the state highway – there’s a sign noting its location – just before Ledgewood Place to the intersection of Park Avenue.
The reason for the change, according to Steven Wheelwright who presented the proposal to the Selectmen, is to end what has become an all-too-common occurrence for out-of-state visitors who have come for a family reunion or meeting friends at the “Boston” Temple.
“Unfortunately, there is a Frontage Road in Boston so when you put into your GPS ‘Boston Temple, 86 Frontage Road,’ the first thing that pops up is the Boston address,” Wheelwright told the Belmontonian before the meeting.
So rather than a stately temple of Olympia white granite, some visitors have found themselves outside the MBTA’s bus washing facility in the city’s South End neighborhood.
Since the only address on Belmont’s Frontage Road is the LDS Temple, the name change would not impact any home or business nor would it replace a prominent or popular street name, Wheelwright told the board.
“It was named Frontage Road by the state when it built the modern Route 2. It’s a town road, but no one ever got around to give it another name,” said Wheelwright, who is the current Temple president. The former Brigham Young University–Hawaii president, Wheelwright was one of the principal movers in the 1970s in purchasing the land where the Temple and the LDS Meetinghouse stand as well as overseeing the temple’s construction in the late 1990s.
Wheelwright told the board he and others in the community solicited comments from Belmont Hill residents on nearby connecting streets to gauge if there would be any issues with the new name.
With no opposition and with the town’s blessing, the selectmen approved the request unanimously to the applause of many in the audience.
And why Hinckley? Wheelwright said there are no other Hinckley Way in the state thus avoiding any future GPS confusion and that Hinckley is a “good sounding New England name” referencing Thomas Hinckley, the governor of the Plymouth Colony in the late 17th century.
While unsaid by the proponents, Hinckley Way could also be a lasting tribute to Gordon Hinckley, the 15th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) who, during his 12-year tenure, accelerated the construction of Mormon temples around the world. Hinckley’s goal of building 100 temples by 2000 was reached when he came to Belmont to dedicate the Boston temple in October of that year.