By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Westborough Town Manager Jim Malloy reported on the response from a previous request made to the town’s citizens asking for their suggestions for the naming of the former Westborough State Hospital park area and the street leading into the site known currently as “Hospital Road.” Notices seeking requests had been sent to local papers. Malloy presented findings to the board for their consideration at their July 11 meeting.
Fifty-five submissions were received for the naming of Hospital Road; the one that rose to the top and was overwhelmingly received with 12 entries was Solomon Fuller Parkway which was wholeheartedly supported by the board.
According to the website www.blackpast.org Solomon Carter Fuller (August 1, 1872–January 16, 1953) was a pioneering African-American physician and psychiatrist. Born in Monrovia, Liberia, he completed his college education and medical degree in the United States. He studied psychiatry in Munich, Germany. On his return to the United States, he worked much of his career at the Westborough State Hospital. He also made significant contributions to the study of Alzheimer’s disease during his career.
Selectman George Barrette praised this suggestion and said, “What a fascinating guy and what an incredible story. He was studying dementia 100 years ago and we are still studying it today.”
Selectman Bruce Tretter agreed and noted Dr. Fuller’s African-American heritage and his studies at Boston University. Later in the discussion, Selectman Leigh Emery supported recognizing Native Americans in the name of the park.
Regarding naming the park, “nothing was overwhelming there and none had the ‘wow’ factor,” according to Selectman Ian Johnson.
Out of the 52 suggestions submitted, there were several that centered on the name Chauncy. Johnson noted that there were also some that honored the Native American history of the park.
Town Clerk Wendy Mickel suggested that the term “parkway” may be too grand and suggested using “way” instead. Town resident Syed Hashmi reminded the board that this is the 300th anniversary of the town that perhaps should be reflected.
A motion was made to hold a public hearing Tuesday, Aug. 15, to seek input on naming the road into the State Hospital to Solomon Fuller Parkway and establishing a name for the park.
Johnson recommended adding Fuller’s title of doctor to the street’s name, making it Dr. Solomon Fuller Parkway, which was accepted and the motion passed.