Celebration set for completion of Richland's street names project

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 23, 2013 

A free concert and ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Historic Streets Project in Richland is planned Saturday.

The 56th Army Band from Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma is scheduled to perform, along with the Richland High School chamber choir and wind ensemble, The 3 Sister Trio and Mary Lou Gnoza.

Scheduled speakers include Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District Commander Lt. Col. Andrew Kelly, Richland Mayor John Fox and City Manager Cindy Johnson, and past state AMVETS Commander Don Schack.

The project grew out of research done by Richland resident Karen Miles, who lives on Tinkle Street. The street name has drawn snickers over the years, and Miles volunteered to research its history after the subject came up at a neighborhood gathering.

She learned it was one of 125 streets in the city named by the Corps of Engineers in the 1940s after veterans dating to the Revolutionary War.

Lt. Otto Spaulding Tinkel (his last name was misspelled on its way to becoming part of the city's street system) was a West Point military academy graduate and instructor who died in 1934.

Through Miles' project, markers providing glimpses of the veterans' lives have been placed along the streets. Most of the streets have at least one marker; some, including Tinkle Street, have multiple, placed at different spots along their span.

Some streets don't yet have any markers because information about the veteran couldn't be verified.

A total of 207 markers have been placed since December 2011.

Miles said a concert is a fitting way to celebrate the project and the veterans.

Music from their eras will be performed.

"Every memory that we have in life has a song attached to it. A piece of music will bring up a memory," Miles said. "These men -- these veterans -- were husbands, fathers, brothers. It's making it a reality, that it's not just a name on the street."

The markers were put together using community donations. More may be added in the future, and donations still are being accepted for maintenance, Miles said.

Donations can be made through AMVETS Post 397, which is serving as the project sponsor. Several local groups and organizations also have lent support, including the city of Richland's Planning and Redevelopment division, the Corps of Engineers, Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC), Battelle, George A. Grant Inc., American Legion, VFW Women's Auxiliary, BMW of Tri-Cities, Cascade Sign and Design, Tri-City Fence and the Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau.

The concert starts at 1 p.m. at the Richland High auditorium. Doors open at 12:15 p.m.

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