why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways

БHey! How come we
drive on park ways and park on drive ways? Huh? Huh? Amiright?! Б Good grief. This rusty one-linerБs gotten plenty of mileage, but few realize that the question is actually answerable. The words БdriveБ and БparkБ existed long before automobiles. Remember, whenever you write or speak, youБre voting with your vocabulary. Languages evolve over time and a given termБs meaning is subject to dramatically change based on the whim of its users. Back in the 1800s, for example, БparkingБ meant planting trees, flowers, and other bits of б A Бparking place,Б therefore, had nothing to do with stationary vehicles.


Instead, it was a location specifically designed to encourage diverse, extensive plant growth for non-agricultural purposes. Yet, many were soon commandeered for an entirely different objective. writes, БBy the turn of the century, such parking areas were sometimes used to hold horse-drawn carriages on special occasions. When automobiles started to overrun cities in the early twentieth century, parking areas were given over to car storage and the word began to refer to the cars themselves rather than the trees and grass they were replacing. Б During this transitional period, AmericaБs parkways also б Metropolitan reformersБwho feared the health costs of industrial growthБstarted establishing wooded parks within cities nationwide, hoping their trees would make urban air more breathable.


As automobiles rose in popularity, special car-friendly routes were carved through such parks. Unimaginatively, these were named БparkwaysБ. So parkways have nothing to do with the actual parking of vehicles. But what about БdrivewaysБ? Well, that particular wordБs since at least 1884б and has essentially meant the same thing ever sinceБnamely, a path that connects somebodyБs private property to a public road.


However, while lengthy driveways were once the norm (and, hence, enabled more driving), todayБs average specimen is little more than a dinky personal parking station. While not something we stay awake thinking about at night, it s still an odd linguistic nuance to ponder. Since it s a Friday, let s spend time answering a semi-useless question: why do we drive on parkways and park on? Cecil Adams at The Straight Dope answered this Let s get one thing cleared up right off the bat: you can drive on the driveway. Indeed, if you ll permit me to wax philosophical for a moment, this is the very essence of drivewaynessto enable you to drive from the street to your garage. moreover. in Old French, a parc was an enclosure.


To this day a military park means an area where vehicles are stored and serviced. As early as 1812 there was a verb to park, meaning to store one s howitzers in a military park. This carried over to carriages and ultimately to any sort of vehicle. Our notion of landscaped parks, meanwhile, derives from the medieval practice of enclosing game preserves for the use of the aristocracy. The term was later applied to the grounds around a country estate, then to royal parks in London to which the proles were grudgingly admitted, and finally to any landscaped public grounds.


So, with this information, I gather the reason a parkway is called a parkway is because they used to be roads that went to scenic parks. And the reason a driveway is called a driveway is because it s the conduit for a car from the street to the house s garage. So, does that mean if you re parking on a driveway rather than your garage, you re actually doing it wrong? Although I think maybe I m spending too much time, what do you think? Photo Credit: Clara /