Road names have special meanings in Madeira

By Regina Villiers.  Originally published March 8, 1995 in The Suburban Life, added March 9, 2017.

Thomas Bergen and his daughter Mary. Thomas was the inspiration for the naming of Thomas Drive in Madeira.


Thomas Bergen and his wife Vera on Easter Sunday in 1935. Bergen developed and built several streets in Madeira.

Many street names traditionally come from names of families who settled in an area, and Madeira is no exception.  Some of its streets were named for some of its early settlers-names like Hosbrook, Fowler and Maxfield.

But some of its newer streets were named for people who once lived there too.

I have written before about Jethve Lane and how it was named for the three Bergen sisters-Jean, Thelma and Vera- using the first two letters of each of their names to coin a word, Jethve.

The street was named for them by their father, who developed the street from land he owned.  The Bergen family lived for a long time on Euclid and owned 48 acres of land in the area.

Thomas G. Bergen eventually built and developed many streets on that side of town, and all were named for members of his family.

Berwood Drive was coined by combining the name Bergen with the name of Woods, who also owned farmland in the area.

Another of the Bergen daughters, Rita, had her own street, Rita Lane, named for her.  Rita Bergen died in the 1940’s just before she was 23 years old.

There are other undeveloped, small streets in the area, which were also named by Bergen, such as Rathon, also a word coined from family names.

But the longest street Bergen built received the name of his only son, Thomas.

Thomas Drive is known by all Madeira families who have ever had small children, for at the very end of the street sits Madeira’s elementary school, Dumont School.

It’s a busy place every day with all the buses and the cars and the comings and goings.  Sooner or later we all end up on Thomas Drive.

Except for Dumont School, Thomas Drive is a quiet street, long and running almost as straight as an arrow.

Thomas Drive also boasts a prominent resident, Madeira’s mayor, Clyde Dorn.

Clyde and his wife, Pat, moved to Thomas in 1979, and their children have grown up there.

Politics is secondary with Clyde.  All his life he has been an educator and he currently teaches English at Raymond Walters College.

Not only does Clyde teach English and literature, but also he produces it.  Clyde is also a writer.  He has had his articles and fiction published, and though his writing is on the back burner now because of the time demands of the mayoralty and teaching; he will go back to it someday, after politics.  Clyde Dorn appreciates writing, and he will always write.

As for the younger Thomas Bergen, who inspired the naming of Thomas Drive, he now lives in Charleston, S.C., and has lived there for many years.

But he once lived on Thomas Drive.  He was the youngest of the Bergen children.  By the time he came along the family had moved to Tomas from Euclid.

Thomas Bergen went to Madeira High School and graduated in 1952.

Recently, speaking from Charleston, he recalled those days.

“Growing up in Madeira was wonderful,” he said.  “We didn’t have a care in the world.  We knew everybody in town.  It was safe.  And at Halloween we could trick or treat all over town.  And we did.  It was a wonderful life.”

The Bergen family left a mark on Madeira that will never be forgotten.  Street signs will forever bear their names-Thomas, Jethve, Rita, Berwood.

These names are a part of our history, to be remembered along with names like Hosbrook, Fowler and Juler.

It’s a bit more than Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame.”