Despite efforts to drum up support for naming a Fayetteville alleyway after a fictional street from the Harry Potter book series, the majority of city council members opted against the name “Diagon Alley.”
Instead, the popular cut-through from Dickson Street to Center Street was named “Shipley Alley” as a tribute to Shipley Baking Co., a Dickson Street business that operated for 60 years in the space now home to Farrell’s Lounge.
Four street signs – at Dickson, Spring, Meadow and Center streets – were recently installed to officially mark the new name.
The issue came up late last year after emergency responders had trouble locating a residence that faces the alley, but has an address on a nearby street. As a result, city staff proposed an official title be chosen for the unnamed right-of-way.
Once word got out about the naming, a group of Harry Potter fans launched a campaign to name the path “Diagon Alley.”
With support from Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty, the group’s cause was heard by the council on Dec. 6.
“I thought it was really fun and whimsical and a little bit silly,” said Petty. “It really kind of emphasized what I like about Fayetteville.”
Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Ferrell said while he respected the suggestion of something fun, he thought “Shipley Alley” was a better fit for the area, both in terms of geography and as a nod to the longtime business.
“I just feel it’s worth my time and energy to try and conserve the name ‘Shipley’,” he said.
Ward 2 Alderman Mark Kinion also showed initial support for the Harry Potter reference, but both he and Petty eventually changed their votes after it became apparent that a majority of the council preferred “Shipley Alley.”