60 Summers Throwback: Naming Werewolf Path & More Hamptons Roads

Dan protests the removal of Werewolf Path in Southampton
Dan protests the removal of Werewolf Path in Southampton

In the years before GPS and Waze, motorists got where they wanted to go by consulting road maps. There were special maps you could get for free in gas stations that folded up small enough to fit into a glove compartment, and many people collected them.

At a certain point, I decide to make one of these fold-up maps for the Hamptons. I’d give them out for free but sell ads along the border to pay for it and make it profitable. As for the map, I thought I’d draw one with all the roads myself. I gathered up all different maps showing the roads on the East End and took an entire day to draw my map. Where maps differed about road names and attachments, I’d drive out to see which was correct and draw it that way.

One thing I noticed on the other maps, though, was that many were dirt roads indicated by dotted lines. Most didn’t even have names. So, considering this an opportunity, I named them. All together I named about 20 roads. I called one Lois Lane. I called another Jeep’s Folly. One particular road that curved this way and that through the woods I named Lost Cow’s Journey. What fun I had, naming the roads!

Save Wereweolf Path sign misspelled
The misspelled Save Wereweolf Path sign is still in Dan’s office

I updated the map every year for more than two decades, and hundreds of thousands of them went into car glove compartments everywhere. And wouldn’t you know it, some of the roads I named actually took on those names. One particular road in Noyac I’d named Werewolf Path, and it now had an official road sign reading Werewolf Path. So I wrote about it in the paper, and when I described how it got named that, the authorities in Noyac met and voted to change it. You can’t do that. The new name is so boring, I won’t even mention it.

Around 2000, when GPS became popular on car dashboards, I ceased printing my map. It’s now a collector’s item.

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