Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's in a name ...

If you look carefully here, you'll see a new fence put into place around the Hotel Charitone late last week, confirmation that the rehabilitation process is about to begin

A Register obituary caught my eye this morning --- reporting the death of a man from elsewhere in Iowa whose survivors remembered him in print as an "avid waterfowl hunter." His children's names were Drake, Teal and Woodie, suggesting that this was an interest carried into other aspects of life. It seems a little odd, but then naming practices can be that way.

Since the Hotel Charitone has been in the news around here lately, the question "why is that 'e' on the end?"  comes up. There is no good explanation, other than the thought that the hotel's developers figured Hotel Chariton would be a little too plain and added the "e" to give the building "tone."

Even the source of "Chariton" is a mystery. Chariton was named after Chariton Point, the geographical spot where we're located, in turn named for the Chariton River, which comes to a point just south of town. But beyond that, the source of Chariton gets lost. Was it a French fur trader way down in Missouri named Jean Chariton? Or was it Joseph Chorette, who reportedly drowned in its waters while participating in a 1795 expedition up the Missouri? A nice family from Utah came through a week or so ago, exploring the town because their surname was Chariton, but the source of their name wasn't French, most likely Scots-Irish. So who knows?

I kind of like the fact my name can be tracked to specific people after whom I was named directly or indirectly. My dad's names were the same, but in reverse order. "Frank" can be tracked through my paternal grandfather's favorite brother, Frank Dent, to her grandfather, Franklin Dunlap; Daniel, though my great-grandfather, Daniel Myers I, to his grandfather, Daniel Dick.

My paternal grandmother named her only daughter Flora Maude --- after Flora Toole, a teacher at the Myers school who boarded with my grandparents; and Maude, Grandmother's stepmother, who was kind to her (No one else in the family much cared for Maude). You don't meet many Floras, or Maudes, these days.

Other names have gone out of fashion, too. Grandmother's name was Ethel, supposedly an old English word meaning noble. But Ethel has fallen by the wayside along with the Pearls, Rubys and Opals of the world. We also are in grave danger of running out of Beulahs.

Some parents lull themselves into a false sense of security, thinking any biblical name must be OK. But I think of my maternal grandfather's aunt, named by parents late in their string of a dozen children after Moses's wife, Zipporah. Tortured by her brothers, who shortened it to "Zip," she created in self-defense and although Quaker was forceful enough to mandate her own selection, Zella.

I just looked up one of those online lists that claims to identify the most popular baby names for 2012. Liam and Emma are at the top. Emma's rather nice and certainly beats Zip, as well as a duck. But Liam?


For those who follow the exploits of my cousin, Helen, now 90 --- the last of the vagabonds --- she's been officially grounded (with just cause) by her daughters. Helen and her daughter, Marilyn, were here for supper last night, headed from Indiana to Provo, where Helen will be spending the winter with her other daughter and an impressive roster of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Cousin Helen during a 2008 cruise through Iowa.

She's none too happy still about the fact her van has been sold and stays at her house elsewhere in Utah will be restricted --- but what a life to look back on. We should all have the guts.


Speaking of the Charitone, here's part of a report sent out last week by Hotel Charitone LLC, updating the status of the rehabilitation process that we're all anxious to see begin:

In mid-August, C&D Masonry of Perry arrived in Chariton to begin masonry work on the Hotel Charitone, including tuckpointing the exterior and rebuilding the areas on the fourth floor that suffered the most significant water damage from the roof over the past several years. In addition to the masonry work, this phase of the project, which is intended to stabilize the structure to allow full construction, will include replacement of the roof, restoration of the windows, removal of the current canopy (not a historical part of the Charitone structure), and repair of the interior steel joists and concrete structure. The State Historic Preservation Office and National Park Service are currently considering the proper approach to the historic rehabilitation of the windows. We will be issuing requests for proposal for the roof, steel, and concrete work in the near future, and contractors should be selected by late September for all those functions. The stabilization work is expected to last until the end of the year, after which construction should begin on the interior of the building.

With respect to the interior, we currently are reviewing estimates of construction costs to determine what we can undertake at this time. Among the decisions are placement of the fire escape, the type of HVAC system (forced air or variable refrigerant flow), the north entrance for tenants, the parking configuration, the initial number of apartment units, and use of the basement level. We also are in the process of recruiting a restaurant for the first floor of the hotel.

So there's another cause for rejoicing.

1 comment:

Judy said...

esresFrank, I have a friend named Flora Belle Dunshee Hixon. She lives here in Chariton and is 90 years young. Also, there is a movie star named Liam Nielson. Judy