THE ISSUE New Jerusalem Baptist Church successfully petitioned the city of Dover to change the name of Slaughter Street to the more sacred Jerusalem Way.


THE ISSUE New Jerusalem Baptist Church had petitioned the city of Dover to change the name of Slaughter Street to the more sacred Jerusalem Way. The request made by The Rev. Clifton Holmes of New Jerusalem Baptist pertained to the block of Slaughter Street – which runs in a north-south direction – between W. North Street and W. Loockerman Street.

THE DETAILS Holmes went through the proper process and first presented his request to the Dover Planning Commission, Dover Director of Planning and Community Development Ann Marie Townshend told Dover City Council. He also submitted an application for a street name change to the City Clerk’s Office on July 7.

“The street has been the location of the oldest black Church in the city, in existence [for] over 100 years,” Holmes wrote. “Jerusalem is the name of the present church located there, for the last 34 years. Jerusalem is a sacred city of Israel.”

Before the Planning Commission, Holmes argued that the name change had a practical purpose in that it would help alleviate confusion for people since there are two Slaughter Streets within the city. Second, the church had concerns about the “negative connotations” of the word slaughter with regard to its address, he said. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the street name change.

WHAT’S NEXT Dover City Council approved the request presented by Townshend 8-0, with one abstention, at its Dec. 12 meeting. Councilwoman Sophia Russell abstained without explanation. The actual street name change is scheduled to occur in the near future, city Principal Planner Dawn Melson-Williams said.

City Manager Scott Koenig and City Clerk Traci McDowell are working to notify emergency responders of the name change as well as the couple properties that front the street, she said.