Dr. Know: Radio Names, Another Roadside Memorial, and That Big Indian Sign

The good doctor explores puzzling issues, including the girl named after the radio station, a mystery plaque, and a problematic sign.

I know you have a background in radio, so please confirm my friend’s claim that a woman exists whose parents named her Webn, after Cincinnati radio station WEBN. If true, what has this person’s life been like with that burden, and just how stoned were these parents? —HOLLOWED BE THY NAME

ILLUSTRATION BY LARS LEETARU

DEAR HOLLOWED:
Webn Lemasters (call her “Weebin”) was born in 1976 and now lives just a few hours from Cincinnati with her young daughter. She acknowledges that her parents were perhaps not entirely free of influential ingredients while filling out her birth certificate. They were fans of Ty Williams, WEBN’s overnight on-air personality, whose easygoing cadence sometimes pronounced the station’s call letters as a word. It sounded nice. Maybe Mom and Dad’s decision was sealed during that effect-filled Peter Frampton guitar solo.

Lemasters harbors no resentments over her unique first name, finding it to be “a good ice breaker,” though it occasionally requires corrections for those who call her Reba, Megan, or Webster. While living in Louisville, Webn seriously considered naming her newborn daughter after a radio station there but, upon finding the only pronounceable call letters to be WAKY, decided she “just couldn’t do that to her.”

A personal note: The Doctor, having spent many years in the employ of WEBN (see our September 2017 issue), hereby declares that whimsical baby-naming does not qualify for even the Top 20 of loony listener behaviors.


You once wrote about the Chatfield Memorial, a small Walnut Hills park that deteriorated after the expansion of Columbia Parkway. Right at that corner, though, I see a boulder with a plaque on it. There’s no way to stop and read it, but could that be a surviving memorial to the Memorial? —STONED STOP

DEAR STONED:
Your question recalls numerous past columns by the Doctor. In our August issue he bravely solved The Case of the Hard-to-Read Plaque in Kenwood. He also, in June 2018, unearthed the secrets of the Chatfield Memorial in Walnut Hills. Your challenge inspires further fearlessness.

To get a good look at that boulder at the foot of Kemper Lane, one must park quite a distance away and walk back to it. Or, we suppose, one might park directly in front of it illegally (just mentioning that possibility). We did not find a remaining memento of the Chatfield Memorial. Instead, this is yet another tribute to yet another “beautiful pleasure ground” that vanished after Columbia Parkway became all Way and no Park. This plaque was dedicated in 1941 to “the mother of all garden clubs,” Mrs. Samuel H. Taft, and is surrounded by a “garden” of grass and generic shrubbery.

The memorial does not win the prize for Cincinnati’s Most Inconveniently Placed Plaque. See our January 2017 column about the marker at Lunken Airport commemorating the crest of the 1937 flood—it’s 80 feet up.


Now that the Cleveland Indians are changing their name to the Guardians and the Washington Redskins are changing their name to…something, what is to become of Cincinnati’s famous “Big Indian Sign Where Paddock Meets Vine?” That thing needs a lot more than a name change. —WOKE SIGNALS

DEAR SIGNALS:
Thank you for still another opportunity to send readers to our archives. The Doctor researched this Carthage mainstay for our May 2017 issue and found two major themes. First, the sign has survived several efforts to have it removed, thanks to residents who see it as a beloved landmark. Second, a virtually identical Big Indian sign stands in Durango, Colorado, built at about the same time (mid 1940s-50s). Like the controversy in Cincinnati, the sign in Durango has stirred conflicting passions among the city’s residents. It originally towered above a local diner that welcomed Durango’s sizable Native American citizenry during a decidedly non-welcoming era. Today, it stands at the entrance to a Native American art gallery.

In the meantime, let’s remember that the original Cincinnati Red Stockings dissolved in 1870 and were later reborn as the Boston Red Stockings, who then became the Boston Braves. They’ve since moved to Atlanta via Milwaukee, but maybe Cincinnati is historically responsible for the “Braves” mascot name. Does this one belong to the Reds?

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