Chris Anderson mounts a Marine View and Heritage Way sign together in preparation for the South Seward Street name change Nov. 1. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Chris Anderson mounts a Marine View and Heritage Way sign together in preparation for the South Seward Street name change Nov. 1. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Time of the signs: New Heritage Way signs ready to go ahead of November name swap

CBJ Streets employees make the custom signs Thursday morning.

A downtown street is getting a new name in early November, and the City and Borough of Juneau Public Works Streets Division is wasting no time to make the transition as swift as possible.

On Thursday at the sign shop in the CBJ Streets facility, Streets Superintendent Scott Gray and Equipment Operator Chris Anderson spent their morning designing and creating five new Heritage Way signs that will replace the outgoing South Seward Street signs located on the two blocks between Front Street and Marine Way.

Chris Anderson touches up the design for the new Heritage Way signs in the making ahead of the South Seward Street name change Nov. 1. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Chris Anderson touches up the design for the new Heritage Way signs in the making ahead of the South Seward Street name change Nov. 1. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The swap is scheduled to take place on Nov. 1 and, along with the news signs, City Hall’s mailing address will be changed. The portion of Seward Street from the stop sign between Heritage Coffee Roasting Co. and Juneau Drug towards the Alaska State Capitol will not be changed.

The idea to rename the street has been floating around since April when Sealaska Heritage Institute President Rosita Worl announced during a public ceremony the nonprofit intended to change the street’s name to Heritage Way.

Chris Anderson removes the vinyl letters cut out for the new Heritage Way signs in the making ahead of the South Seward Street name change Nov. 1. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Chris Anderson removes the vinyl letters cut out for the new Heritage Way signs in the making ahead of the South Seward Street name change Nov. 1. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

“The reasons to change the street name is to make the street name compatible with the Northwest Coast arts people, the Heritage Square, the Walter Soboleff Building, the arts campus, the new SHI Fab Lab that will work to incorporate Indigenous and Western Science, and furthering Juneau as the Northwest arts capital of the word,” she said to the crowd.

Soon after her announcement SHI submitted an application to the city and in June the Planning Commission unanimously OK’d the change.

A historic change

Seward Street is named after William H. Seward, known during his lifetime as a former U.S. secretary of state and senator, and New York governor, who is more widely known in Alaska for his role in negotiating the purchase of the Alaska territory from the Russian Empire in 1867.

Chris Anderson measures a Heritage Way in preparation for the South Seward Street name change Nov. 1. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Chris Anderson measures a Heritage Way in preparation for the South Seward Street name change Nov. 1. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Many residents may recognize the statue of Seward from Dimond Courthouse Plaza across from the Capitol. Though Seward died in 1872, he has been a source of controversy in recent years as people have reexamined his legacy.

On one hand, Seward has been recognized as an abolitionist in the Lincoln administration, and an aid to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. When the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1864, Seward was Lincoln’s Secretary of State and contributed language to early drafts of the document, according to the Library of Congress. Documents from the William Henry Seward Papers at the University of Rochester Library show Seward sold a plot of land to Harriet Tubman, founder of the Underground Railroad.

On the other hand, Southeast Alaska residents — including Worl — have condemned his role in the suppression of Alaska Native culture. In a letter sent to the Empire, Worl said Seward’s hand in the purchase of the Alaska territory represents “the imperial ambitions that drove the United States to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their land and exclude them from the political institutions of the state.”

Making the signs

With the abundance of signs necessary to ensure safety in Juneau, Anderson said the city opts to make its own — it’s cheaper and, often, easier that way. He said on any given day he could make dozens of signs if projects need them quickly. The five signs he made for Heritage Way, along with another for Marine View, only took about an hour from design to finish.

Chris Anderson adds adhesive to the green vinyl that is used to make the new Heritage Way signs ahead of the South Seward Street name change Nov. 1. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Chris Anderson adds adhesive to the green vinyl that is used to make the new Heritage Way signs ahead of the South Seward Street name change Nov. 1. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Anderson, using the city workshop, also helps make signs for other municipalities in Southeast from time to time, like in June when they created the first batch of street signs using the Lingít language — including a stop, yield, children-at-play and street names — for Haines.

[Haines raised its first Tlingit street signs — is Juneau next?]

He said if Juneau wanted to do something similar it wouldn’t be a difficult task on his end.

Anderson said the Heritage Way signs should last at least 20 years. The hardware is sturdy to make sure ravens don’t eat them — a problem that occurs more often than one might think he said.

“Oh yeah — they chew on them, they enjoy them,” he said. “They’re something else.”

After the signs are finished, a few will go up behind the current South Seward signs so that they can flip them when Nov. 1 hits. The others will be installed when the day comes.

A completed Heritage Way sits on a table at the CBJ Streets facility after being made Thursday morning. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A completed Heritage Way sits on a table at the CBJ Streets facility after being made Thursday morning. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651) 528-1807.

More in News

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore docks in Juneau in October of 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for t​​he Week of April 22

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, April 21, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The “Newtok Mothers” assembled as a panel at the Arctic Encounter Symposium on April 11 discuss the progress and challenges as village residents move from the eroding and thawing old site to a new village site called Mertarvik. Photographs showing deteriorating conditions in Newtok are displayed on a screen as the women speak at the event, held at Anchorage’s Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Relocation of eroding Alaska Native village seen as a test case for other threatened communities

Newtok-to-Mertarvik transformation has been decades in the making.

Bailey Woolfstead, right, and her companion Garrett Dunbar examine the selection of ceramic and wood dishes on display at the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on behalf of the Glory Hall at Centennial Hall on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Empty Bowls provides a full helping of fundraising for the Glory Hall

Annual soup event returns to Centennial Hall as need for homeless shelter’s services keeps growing.

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon and her husband Greg. (Photo courtesy of the City and Borough of Juneau)
Greg Weldon, husband of Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon, killed in motorcycle accident Sunday morning

Accident occurred in Arizona while auto parts store co-owner was on road trip with friend

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, April 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, April 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, April 18, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Delegates offer prayers during the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s 89th Annual Tribal Assembly on Thursday at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Muriel Reid / Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Tribal Assembly declares crisis with fentanyl and other deadly drugs its highest priority

Delegates at 89th annual event also expand foster program, accept Portland as new tribal community.

Most Read