Spell Checking Street Signs in Fairfax

Sager Avenue may actually be spelled S-A-G-A-R

By Richard Jordan
|  Saturday, May 12, 2012  |  Updated 9:50 AM EDT
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A founding family of Fairfax says street signs honoring its descendants spell the name wrong. Richard Jordan reports.

Richard Jordan

A founding family of Fairfax says street signs honoring its descendants spell the name wrong. Richard Jordan reports.

Signs marking a street named for one of the founding families of Fairfax may not be spelled right, but addressing the possible error isn't as simple as replacing the signs.

Several street signs and address markers on the avenue in questions spell it S-A-G-E-R, how residents have spelled it for decades. However, that E may need to go.

William Sagar says his ancestors are A.J. and Hannah Sagar. The prominent Fairfax couple is pictured at the Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center and buried at Flint Hill Cemetery.

The Sagar name is not only spelled that way on their gravestone, but also in black and white in an 1891 document from the Virginia General Assembly and in an 1870s Fairfax Times when AJ. .Sagar was appointed a judge.

William Sagar wants the city to correct the signs. 

“I hope for history’s sake they consider it,” he said

The Sagar family has deep roots in Fairfax. The Fairfax Museum is in the original Fairfax elementary schoolhouse, which is on property that was donated by the Sagar family, but the museum spells the name like it’s spelled on the street signs -- with the E.

Historians say finding the proper spelling may be difficult because centuries ago the record keepers weren't always the best spellers.

”The lack of consistent written records and you just go on phonetic spellings -- which is how you hear it, that’s how you write it down -- I could definitely see how it would happen,” Sagar said.

The city has not decided what the proper spelling is yet.

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