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Speak Out: Would You Change Skin Alley's Name?

Or do you think we shouldn't change history?

Skin Alley has gone through much transformation over the last few years. As a tiny paved road, the downtown alleyway adjacent to South Peachtree Street was originally intended to be a place just for delivery trucks.

Historians say it's been used for other things, too, but since downtown's revitalization, more and more businesses have been trying to beautify it instead of keeping its back alley look.

Awnings and landscaping have been added to improve Skin Alley, and stores such as have established its storefront there. Additionally, the city plans to by the end of July as part of its redevelopment.

At the end of the day, we're still stuck with the name Skin Alley, which many can agree does not have the most pleasant-sounding name.

Last week on Facebook, Norcross Patch asked followers if they would be in favor of changing the name.

Here are some of the responses:

"Nay! I love the name, [it's] my favorite in the whole city!" said Lindsey Monroe.

"Change it. Gives folks the wrong idea," wrote Bonnie Crannel Evans.

"Don't change it! It's part of our historical charm," piped Jeannette Osowski Shewbert.

Thing is, it doesn't seem like there's an exact answer as to what part of history the name is referring to. Norcross historian Gene Ramsay can't confirm the meaning behind the name, but many locals believe it's named after the act of skinning the back of hands when rolling dice.

Some also voiced that it shouldn't be changed just because it's held the Skin Alley name for as long as anyone can remember, and they want to preserve the history.

Since the topic generated some strong opinions on Facebook, we decided to move the discussion to Norcross Patch to get your ideas, too.

Do you think Skin Alley's name should change? Do you think it leaves visitors with a negative impression?

Or do you think the city should keep it just because it's had that name for so long?

Let us know in the comments.

Yvette Hasbrouck May 17, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Yes it should be renamed, it gives visitors a negative impression. My children have asked several times what it "really" means, I have told them we are past those times. We are creating a history as well, for the new generations! i am in favor of a new name!!
Mandy McLean May 17, 2012 at 01:04 PM
What is the origination of the name? I always imagined it was something to do with butchery or tanning (leather not people). In any event, keep the name, revisionist history is never a good thing.
Chuck Paul May 17, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I think the name Skin Alley (although not what one would call traditional) is unique and when the ALLEY will maintain it's ALLEY feel. I say leave well enough alone.
Chuck Paul May 17, 2012 at 02:07 PM
I think the name Skin Alley (although not what one would call traditional) is unique and when the ALLEY is renovated it will maintain it's ALLEY feel. I say leave well enough alone.
Linda Murphy May 17, 2012 at 02:33 PM
You could change the "skin" and keep the "alley" part. It could be "Buchanan Alley" or some other name connected with Norcross' history. Or, something more current like "Commerce Alley."
Tim Suggs May 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I sometimes hear people laugh as they walk by Sen. Thompson's old office which has the address "4 Skin Alley".
Ted Jennings May 17, 2012 at 04:26 PM
No, don't change it at all. Especially since we're not even 100% sure of the name's origin. It likely isn't due to anything seedy or undesirable. And even if it was, times were different back then. Who cares. It's a part of world history. The name is unique and a charming little element of downtown Norcross. Leave it as is. If we were to change it just due to speculating on its origin and/or simply associating a word with undesirable things, then we might as well change the name of any street or establishment with the word "johnson" in it as well.
Daniel Lay May 17, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Sure,change it. Who cares. I say we change the city's name,too. How about "Imagine" or "Current" or give it an international feel and call it "Vienna", then we could outlaw car horns in the city,as the Austrian's do, to go along with the smoking ban. Very little of what I remember growing up here is the same. I know that change is inevitable, but some things, like traditional street names, have significance from a historical perspective. I never accepted that the street I grew up on was anything other than "Holy Row". But , I expect that the current goverenment will do whatever it thinks seems most upscale. How about "Pretentious Boulevard??"
Jo Crymes May 17, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Leave the name as it is. There is a curiosity and mystery created by "Skin Alley". I wish by home address had as much character! The name is memorable. How many other streets in downtown Norcross do you remember as much as "Skin Alley"?
Offie holmes May 17, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Leave it alone! History is history.
Anne labaire May 18, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Skin Alley, whatever the origin, is a unique part of Norcross and is certainly a more interesting name than 1st Street or Peachtree. It's fun! Keep it.
Norcross Car Show May 18, 2012 at 06:04 AM
Leave it alone. There is a reason that streets are given there names. It called history. Why do people move to our unique town and then want to change everything. All roads leads to another town, so move there if you don't like the name of our streets.
Patricia Kelly May 18, 2012 at 06:57 AM
Leave it alone. There's nothing offensive in the name.
Karen Harris May 20, 2012 at 04:30 PM
I would not change it. Why? What is the reason? Changing things with no rhyme or reason as to why, if there is a benefit in changing it...or if there is a problem with it is change for change sake...a waste of time. Let's find other ways to make our beautiful and charming city even more attractive than it already is!
Mary K. Krieger June 06, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Don't change it! It is history & does have that charm, just as most people are saying. They also say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Bob Wilkerson September 14, 2012 at 01:59 PM
According to the "old timers" I've talked to (Col. John Adams for example) the name comes from its one time popularity as a place where the young guys met to gamble on a game called "Skin". That lends some credibility to the dice game someone mentioned earlier. Let's keep this interesting and whimsical name.

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