Please, Do Not Change the Name of Florida's Lake Horney

Please, Do Not Change the Name of Florida's Lake Horney
Image via Google Maps

Among the many lakes of the appropriately named Lakeland, Florida, is Lake Horney. Its name is derived from J.T. Horney, a real-estate developer who built homes in the area in the 1920s. However, he's probably not what teenagers think of when they hear the name "Lake Horney," not to mention the many other place names associated with the surrounding area, including Horney Park, Horney Shore, and Lake Horney Drive.

In case anyone needs it spelled out, "Horney" is a homophone of "horny." According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of the latter word is "desiring sexual gratification." Which we can imagine leads itself to a lot of juvenile merriment when referring to the lake. 

Nearby resident Barry Zimmerman is sick of the jokes. He has petitioned the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to change the lake's moniker. He wants the lake to be rechristened to honor Alfred Lodwick, an aviation pioneer with roots in the area.  The Lakeland City Council is hesitant but will poll residents and report their suggestion to the Board. The Board is responsible for the final decision. 

This is, of course, very stupid and should not be condoned. 

What does this say to all the people out there who have to go through life with unintentionally hilarious names? What of all the Mr. and Mrs. Coxes, Dixes, Cummings, Cockburns, and Gaylords? 

Do we say to the residents of Florida with snicker-worthy last names that no matter how hard they work and how much they contribute to the community that they can never dream of having a street, park, or lake named after them because teenagers have ill-developed senses of humor? 

No, no we should not. Everyone should be proud of their odd last names, and Lake Horney-area residents should be proud of their heritage. 

In any event, we suspect the issue to swell up for a bit, and then, after some long, hard thought and concentration, everyone will relax and move on to something more worthwhile. 

For what it's worth, before moving to Florida, Horney also developed neighborhoods in Asheville, North Carolina. Horney Hills and Horneyhurst are still named in his honor. Are we really going to admit that North Carolina can be more mature about the nomenclature situation than Florida? 

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