Weekly Obsession: Renaming Antioch

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 10:05pm

Branding — as marketing mavens will tell you (for a fee) — is everything.

According to Metro Councilwoman Jacobia Dowell, ZIP code 37013 has a branding problem.

Those sticklers at the United States Postal Service deem every address in the ’013 as Antioch and Dowell notes not everything southeast of Harding Place is Antioch.

There’s Priest Lake and Baker Town and Una and Nashboro Village and somewhere called, rather ominously, “The Country.”

Just a few years back, one little corner of Antioch — actual Antioch this time, not just Post Office Antioch — changed its name to Cane Ridge, the residents stubbornly insisting it had been Cane Ridge all along and they were just embracing their roots.

Dowell isn’t proposing something so drastic as creating a new identity by repurposing a centuries-old name. She just wants the whole shebang to be called “Nashville” (without the scare quotes).

Dowell says people who send mail — NES, credit card companies, your great aunt — get the wrong idea when they have to address an envelope and scrawl “Antioch, TN” along the bottom.

Long-time resident Betty Waldron told WSMV she gets some weird looks after telling people where she lives.

“I’ve had people say, ‘Oh, you live there?’ Well, where we live is just fine. It’s just the little bit,” she said.

Maybe if 37013 were lumped in with the mass of other ZIP codes which get to use the name Nashville, the reputation of that “little bit” will get dissipated.

But is there any chance people will just stop referring to that nebulous southeast corner of the county as anything but Antioch? Despite the best efforts of real estate agents, no one is calling the north side of Charlotte “Historic West Town” when “The Nations” works just fine.

Antioch as a descriptive isn’t going to disappear just because the prescriptivists deem it Nashville.

Plus, the ultimate call isn’t with us lowly folks anyway. It comes from on high, from the Postmaster General. And the USPS isn’t always so hot on changing ZIP code names, putting the burden on locals to prove a “dire need.”

There’s no telling if the winning argument “people talk bad about Antioch so let us just be Nashville?” meets that exacting standard.

Filed under: City News

8 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 9/5/12 at 8:09

Antioch is where the working poor live.

By: NewYorker1 on 9/5/12 at 8:43

Rasputin72, so I guess that means you live in Antioch. Not that anybody really cares, but thanks for sharing.

By: BigPapa on 9/5/12 at 12:02

Over built with crappy houses on tiny lots, no character, no nothing... also if you live in Antioch it might be a good idea to learn Spanish.

By: NewYorker1 on 9/5/12 at 3:45

I know some very successful people that live in Antioch. I live in Green Hills and know people here that live pay check to pay check. With that said, take your own inventory first. Is your house in order? If so, then that's all you need to worry about.

By: cmarcus45 on 9/5/12 at 3:46

As for the proposal, if "Antioch" has such a stigma, then the Councilwoman and citizens should go about doing things differently. Changing the name is the easy, weak way out and will not change anything.

As for a line in the article why would a placed named "The Country" be "ominously" named?! Vague, perhaps. But ominous?

By: CrimesDown on 9/5/12 at 5:03

Antioch wasn't always like this. There is a reason it has gained the reputation it has now. You can't fix it with a name change. I live in a ZIP that boarders 37013. The area I live in is no different than 37013. It is easier for me to say I live in Antioch than try and explain I live in Nashville, but close to Antioch. I live in Antioch. With only a few exceptions all of Nashville might as well be Antioch. I suspect fixing the problem would be better than a name change. I know fixing the problem is next to impossible too.

I know what the problem is but I would like to hear what everyone else thinks it is before I give my opinion.

By: budlight on 9/6/12 at 1:42

BigPapa on 9/5/12 at 1:02
Over built with crappy houses on tiny lots, no character, no nothing... also if you live in Antioch it might be a good idea to learn Spanish.

I live on a street near Starwood; If you drive down this street there are about 9 homes; their land ranges from 3.65 acres to about 32 acres. Across the street from my home there is a gated property with an awesome barn (5 stall); It has 4 horses on it and is well maintained (about 30 acres).. Every home is well maintained; the vacant lots are well maintained; even the house next to me which burned to the ground 2 years ago and has been hauled away is well maintained.
We love our street. If you didn't know it, you'd think you were on a street with horses in Franklin.

S o, the stigma is there, but the beauty is here also.

By: R A Clark on 9/10/12 at 9:37

Excuse me, but the issue of concern raised by Metro Councilwoman Dowell is that when any one in Antioch types in the zip code 37013 on any internet form, the city "Antioch" comes up automatically and we do not have the option of claiming we are from Nashville. We live inside Metro Nashville borders, our taxes go to Metro Nashville, our services come from Metro Nashville, we pay for car stickers and tags for Metro Nashville. Why do the residents of Bellevue and Donelson and other suburbs not have to use their neighborhood names on petitions, bills, official documents, etc. etc. like we in Antioch are forced to? I am a Nashvillian. I am tired of explaining to people that I do not live in some little rural town in the boonies of Tennessee that no one has ever heard of. I live in NASHVILLE! Why are residents of my zip code the ONLY citizens of Nashville not allowed to claim our city as our residence? As for this article, I question whether such derogatory stereotyping and criticism would be used against North Nashville or other areas where the demographic would be more likely to raise accusations of racism. Only slightly over one half of the citizens of Antioch are Anglo white, so the author's denigration of this location appears to be racist and anti immigrant. I am very disappointed that the editor of this paper published a prejudiced rant against an area so full of members of protected minorities. I can see this kind of ignorant recklessness from commenters, but not from the editors and publishers of such an esteemed and trusted periodical. Please get your facts correct. The issue is the US government needs to fix its records and allow all citizens of Nashville to use the name of their city as their residence with NO discrimination. We could use some support from our fellow Nashvillians and the Nashville City Paper.