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Guest column | William G. Dayton

Name of Lock Street in Dade City honors civic-minded family

Your editorial supporting the proposal to change the name of Lock Street Calle de Milagros at the north side of Dade City to Street of Miracles commented that keeping the Lock name sends the wrong message. I suggest that the County Commission sent the right message by rejecting the proposal.

The name Lock Street commemorates a distinguished early family in the area. Christopher Lock immigrated to the United States and settled in Pasco County in the early 1890s. He became successful as a citrus grower, banker and owner of Pasco Abstract Co. From the time he arrived in this country, he devoted much of his time to improving Dade City and Pasco County. He led the establishment of the Board of Trade, a forerunner of today's chamber of commerce and was a charter member of the local Kiwanis Club. He was instrumental in moving St. Mary's Episcopal Church to Dade City from Pasadena after that town disappeared following the great freeze of 1895. He was a county commissioner at the time of his death in a traffic accident in the early 1930s.

His wife, Lucy Spencer Lock, was active in many civic organizations and, in 1920, was the first Pasco County woman to run for the Florida Legislature. His sister-in-law, Grace Lock, was a career teacher who played a significant role in organizing the school library system.

Christopher and Lucy's daughter, Dorothy Lock, is believed to have been the first teacher of Spanish in our local school system. After the father's death, she managed Pasco Abstract Co. with her mother.

A firm believer in the idea that a community is improved by home ownership and that decent, affordable housing should be available to working families, she worked with Tommy Barfield and others to develop Tommytown as an area where low-income people, especially workers at Pasco Packing Co., could become homeowners.

Because Pasco Abstract was the area's only title company in those days, she was in a unique position to iron out title problems and make the development work.

Dorothy's aunt, Laura Spencer Porter, persuaded the local bank where she controlled a large block of stock to make home loans available so that the working people who had made the citrus industry possible could own decent homes in the Lock Street area.

It is appropriate that the Lock family continue to be honored by a street name in the Dade City area. Dorothy Lock's involvement in the development of Tommytown is part of the significance of the name Lock Street. The Lock name can and should be a source of pride to those who live here and those who share Dorothy Lock's conviction that a community of homeowners is a strong and healthy community.

Several years ago, the Pasco County Commission added the name Calle de Milagros to Lock Street, recognizing the substantial Hispanic presence in Tommytown. To change the present double name to Street of Miracles would not be a show of inclusiveness, but a repudiation of both the historic identity of the street and of its present identity as a vibrant center of Pasco County's Spanish-speaking community.

As for the reference to the Lock Street Gang using the Lock name as part of its identity, it will not improve the community for some successor gang of juvenile delinquents to start calling themselves the Miracles.

William G. Dayton is a Dade City attorney.

Name of Lock Street in Dade City honors civic-minded family 03/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 5:11pm]
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