Military or myth? Road extension to become Hero Way in Leander


Scott McDonald, HCN

The Leander City Council approved a development agreement last week for the dedication of right-of-way for the extension of CR 269, then they gave it a name.

They will call it Hero Way.

"The [Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority] is including signage in their construction set for their extension of main lanes north of the 269 extension," Leander Assistant City Manager Scott Wall told the council. "It would be beneficial to adopt the name Hero, which has a dual reference. It honors the service men and women of our community and it also has a mythological reference."

According to myth, Hero and Leander were famous lovers in Greek mythology. Hero lived in the town of Sestos and served as a priestess of the goddess Aphrodite (Venus). Leander was a youth from the nearby town of Abydos, located across a narrow strip of water called the Hellespont.

Hero and Leander met at a festival and fell in love. Hero had remained a virgin and was forbidden to marry. Hero and Leander decided to see each other secretly. Every night Hero left a lamp burning in a window of the tower where she lived, and Leander would swim across the Hellespont, using the light to guide his way. One winter night, Leander lost his way and drowned when the wind blew out the flame in the lamp. The next morning, when Hero saw Leander's lifeless body washed up on the shore, she killed herself by jumping out of the tower.

Ancient poets like Ovid and Virgil told the tale of Hero and Leander. English author Christopher Marlowe used the story as the basis of his poem Hero and Leander. Lord Byron, John Keats and Alfred Lord Tennyson were other well-known poets who wrote of the lovers.

The name passed the council, 7-0, with Mayor Pro-Tem Chris Fielder making the motion and John Perez making the second.

The road will be called Hero Way from U.S. 183 to Ronald Reagan Boulevard, about halfway between RR 2243 and San Gabriel Parkway.