The advice probably will not be accepted. There’s something about “Abram” that just seems to scream for either a plural or possessive ending. Over the years an endless number of business cards with Abram addresses have been printed with an “s” incorrectly attached, and just recently I saw a billboard plugging a new Abram Street restaurant , except that it said “Abrams” in letters two feet tall. When I complained about this to a member of the city council he looked quizzical and asked, “It’s not Abrams?”
I mention this annoying trend because the same friend went on to ask, “How come parts of Abrams (argggggg!) look so crappy? And what’s with the Third World look of Division Street?”
Good questions. The source of the name may either be W.W. Abrams (yes, with an S), a land commissioner who dispensed titles along the wagon road that would become Abram, or Abraham (aka Abe or Abram) Harris, a pioneer resident.
My old pal, Fire Marshall J.W. Dunlop, now deceased, said he believed Abram was named after Harris. I’m going with that.
But as to why Abram looks so old, it was once State Highway 1 and briefly was U.S. 80. For years it was called Dallas-Fort Worth Road or “The Pike” and was the city’s main drag until U.S. 80 was authorized. Highway builders decided it would be more cost efficient to have 80 on the north side of the railroad track, which in Arlington in the 1920s was a dirt road called Division Street.
This decision would also avoid incorporating “Death’s Crossing” into U.S. 80. Abram back then ended at present-day Fielder Road and took a hard right turn north across both the Interurban trolley (another story) and T&P railroad tracks, a hazardous and sometimes fatal combination.
Arlington officials protested the route change, preferring to keep highway traffic on Abram or Main Street. When offered an option of either paying for the highway themselves or accepting the Division Street alternative, they allowed the route change, albeit not happily. A tunnel – now closed – was built under the new U.S. 80 highway to allow elderly residents of the Masonic Home to cross safely.
That’s the history of Abram. Don’t even think about putting an “S” on it.