Naming the Two Rod Road


         By Linda Snow McLoon

There are a number of ways various roadways in Scarborough got their names. In early times, roads were often named after a family who lived on the road – the Fogg Road, Burnham Road, and Holmes Road fall into this category. With so many Libbys living in Scarborough, however, one road needed to be more specific: the Manson Libby Road.

In some cases, roads were named to indicate where they would take you: the Gorham Road and Pine Point Road are examples of this. In many instances, those laying out roads would label it after a prominent geographical feature that everyone would recognize, such as the Ash Swamp Road and the Beech Ridge Road. In more recent times, developers have submitted road names to honor a family member. For example, we have Herbert Drive, Phillip Street, and Ellie Avenue.

Then there is the Two Rod Road, which might find us puzzling over that name’s origin. A document that is part of the historical society’s ephemera collection clears up the mystery. On April 14, 1792, Surveyor Bruce Banks reported to selectmen Peter Libby, Joshua Libby, and John A. Milliken that a plan for the roadway they’d requested had been laid out. After specifying the path of the road, he wrote, “Said road to be two rods in width taking one rod out of each lot where two men join such road.” This tells us that the Two Rod Road was originally laid out to be 33 feet wide since a surveyor’s rod measures 16.5 feet, which is based on the length of 25 links in a surveyor’s chain. Today the Two Rod Road is a convenient connector between Holmes Road, Payne Road, and Scottow Hill Road.

The numbering in the top right corner of the document indicates the box, folder, and document number location of this item in the ephemera collection. Since each document has been entered into an index, visitors can easily go right to the location of an item they’re interested in and examine the primary document.

1792 Document regarding Two Rod Road – Ephemera ID 7C-42-37

[Editor’s Note:] This article was originally published in Owascoag Notes, May/June 2022, page 3. If you did not receive that issue because you aren’t a member, please visit our Membership Page.

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