Saturday, August 27, 2011

Maryland's Green Lantern Road

If you ever travel from Western Pennsylvania to the state of Maryland, chances are at some point you'll drive east on Route 68, briefly passing though West Virginia along the way.  As you roll through the town of Lonaconing, Maryland, you'll drive under a particular overpass with its street name emblazoned on the side on a green sign with white lettering.  The name of that sign reads: "Green Lantern Road".

I myself have seen this road sign probably a dozen times, but I was finally able to snap a picture of it on the way to the Baltimore Comic-Con this past weekend, and above, in all its grainy brilliance, is the proof (also proof that the windows in the Camry could stand to be washed).

I do realize that, unlike me, the world does not always think of things in terms of comic book references, but really - what else could this road name refer to?  An actual lantern that was green?  That's doubtful, and it also means that someone purposefully named a street after a comic book character.  I've seen my fair share of Lois Lanes and other clever names, but this particular road just fascinates me.

I wonder - and I'll probably never know - who named this street any why they decided to do it.  Was the person simply a fan of the comic?  Did the people of Lonaconing want to honor a notable resident for contributions to popular culture?  Could this really be just a huge coincidence?

About 15 years ago, I mentioned this road to Green Lantern co-creator Mart Nodell while attending the Pittsburgh Comicon.  If I'm remembering correctly, he told me that he hadn't heard of the street before, and the look he gave me while answering seemed to imply that he didn't necessarily believe that such a road existed.  But it does!  It does.  I wonder if the mystery of this road will remain just that, at least to me.

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