Tortoise Grove is now Tortoise Glen after years of questions about name’s connotation

TORTOISE GLEN, FREEDEMIA- That’s right. Tortoise Glen. Not Tortoise Grove.

While the transition is still underway, the mayor and city council (with huge support from the community) finally voted almost unanimously to change the name of the town to Tortoise Glen after years of debate.

The questions centered around the connotation and definition of the word “grove”. While it appears the intentions of city founders were pure, the term “grove” in its original definition was “a place for worshipping idols”. This didn’t go over well with the extremely God-centered community, not with its leaders, nor with its residents.

“I love this town,” Carol Senthia, a local mom active in her church stated when asked. “I have no intention of leaving. But I just don’t feel comfortable with the name implying a place where God doesn’t come first. Because that’s just not true.”

However, even some of the ones who disliked the name’s connotation felt it should stay, as they felt it was actually meant to be the legacy of the one who originally started the first settlement there in 1821, Grover Glensworth, who had originally called the spot simply “Tortoise”, after the large amounts of turtles and tortoises in the area.

Debates continued for years. Some had perhaps felt calling the town “Glensworth” was the solution. That name came close in several city elections, but always lost by a few votes, with many saying that while it acted as a memorial to the founder, it took away the parts that actually reflected Glensworth’s life and legacy, especially the “Tortoise” part.

Finally, at the end of December, Mayor Willie Carson called an emergency town meeting to discuss a new proposal- “Tortoise Glen”. That way, the name would still remain similar enough to be recognizable, the “Tortoise” part Glensworth had dubbed the town with would remain, and the “Glen” part would still reflect the legacy of Glensworth.

The vote happened on Friday and got 96% of the votes of the residents and a unanimous approval by the city council. Some sign changes, street name changes and manual edits to Open Geo Map and Glofish Maps happened already over the weekend, and will continue into this next week.


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