West Little Rock, Arkansas named three streets after Star Trek characters.
When you think about it, it seems random to have a town naming some of its streets after Star Trek characters unless the town has some connection to one of those characters like Riverside, Iowa (future birth place of Captain James T. Kirk) or Bloomington, Indiana (future birth place of Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway). But West Little Rock, Arkansas has a much more heartbreaking reason for the name choices of these streets.
In 1942, after Pearl Harbor, George Takei and his family were sent to an internment camp for Japanese Americans. The camp was called the Rohwer Relocation Center in Desha County, Arkansas. Takei and his family were there for eight months. At that time, there was one other camp located in Jerome, Arkansas, but according to Kicker102.5, all that remains are smokestacks, a cemetery, and a few monuments.
West Little Rock, Arkansas chose to honor three Star Trek characters.
In honor of Takei’s brief stay in the state, West Little Rock renamed three streets nearby one another after characters from Star Trek: The Original Series. There is Kirk Road, Sulu Road, and Spock Road all within about two miles of each other. If that isn’t enough, there’s even Kirk Lake.
While the reason for naming a road after Takei’s character is clear, it isn’t so clear why Kirk’s and Spock’s name were chosen to adorn other streets (and a lake) and other characters like Lt. Uhura, Lt. Commander “Scotty” Scott, and Ensign Chekov were omitted. That’s a question for the government of West Little Rock.
And while it’s nice to see these streets named after three iconic characters from The Original Series, it’s sad how this came to be. West Little Rock chose, though, to honor Takei’s family’s sacrifice and to highlight three important characters who helped make Star Trek.