Two years after a group of committed individuals set out to
name the underappreciated (and often unseen) streams that flow
through Emory’s campus, their efforts have been rewarded.
In March, the Board of Trustees officially approved names for the
four most visible streams, all flowing through either central campus
or Lullwater, as well as language for signs to be posted adjacent
to the waterways.
The four include:
• Antoinette Candler Creek, named for the wife of former Emory Chancellor
Warren Candler, originating under Harris and Thomas residence halls, flowing
under Woodruff Library and surfacing in Baker Woodlands.
• George Cooper Creek, named for the longtime Emory coach and director of
intramural sports, originating under the CDC and flowing into Peavine Creek near
• Henry Hornbostel Creek, named for the architect who designed the original
buildings on Emory’s Atlanta campus, which flows underneath the Cox Hall
• Ernest Richardson Creek, named for the longtime caretaker of Lullwater,
flowing within the preserve close to Clifton Road.
All four names were solicited from the Emory community through a collaborative
effort between the Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Stewardship and the Friends
of Emory Forest. Tim Bryson, a member of both groups and chair of the University
Senate’s Committee on the Environment, led the project. The Emory Stream
Naming Committee (or “streamers,” as they called themselves) identified
12 perenially flowing streams to be named but decided to start with the four
It appeared to be a simple formula: gather a list of appropriate stream names;
have a knowledgable group sift through and choose four; come up with some signage
that would educate the public; get it all approved by the board. But the actual
process turned out to be much more complicated and touched on issues the original
streamers never considered.
For example, one suggestion was to name a creek after James Paden, an antebellum
farm owner who owned part of what is now the Druid Hills campus. Paden’s
was one of the original four names chosen, but then someone pointed out that
Paden owned not only land but also slaves. Would it be appropriate to name an
Emory landmark after a slaveholder?
Bryson and the rest of the streamers talked to a number of people across campus,
including African American faculty, to get their opinions, and most felt that
naming the stream after Paden would be appropriate as long as the signage explained
his slaveholding status. Some also suggested a ceremony of some sort that would
acknowledge those whom the stream’s namesake once held in bondage.
In the end, however, the stream in question was named for Richardson, which perhaps
was even more appropriate since “Mr. Ernest,” as he was known, served
as Lullwater’s caretaker for nearly 40 years (1926–62), beginning
long before Emory owned the property.
The Paden issue was not the only one to arise. One reason the project was launched
in the first place was to call attention to the effects Emory’s growth
has had on its environment; several of the 12 identified streams flow underneath
buildings or roadways, invisible to the casual passerby, and many carry evidence
of humanity’s environmental carelessness.
But instead of posting signs that dwelled on environmental offenses, it was decided
to focus on positive steps being taken to either mitigate or reverse the damage
development has done to the University’s natural resources. The environmental
component of the Candler Creek sign will read: “Exposed tree roots and
undercut banks of the creek reveal the impact of increased urban runoff. Campus
efforts seek to mitigate stormwater flows.”
When those signs go up, however, is an unanswered question. The stream signs
have been rolled into a larger sign project that seeks to educate the community
about a number of environmental issues, not just creeks, and about campus history.
In the meantime, the streamers are moving forward with plans to name the remaining
eight streams. A website (www.environment.emory.edu/who/streams.shtml) explains
the project in more detail and lists criteria for stream naming. For more information,
call Bryson at 404-727-1277.