Folks in Fayetteville Are Fickle About Neighborhood's Name
Posted September 2, 1999
FAYETTEVILLE — Residents of a Cumberland County community are trying to answer the age-old question, "What's in a name?"
Welcome to Hamont. Or is it Haymont? Or Haymount? City leaders say "none of the above."
They call it Hay Mount.
Fayetteville's Historic Property Manager found the area's name on a map dating back to 1823.
But in the Hay Mount of today, the name is spelled differently on every sign, it seems. Here a "y," there a "u," everywhere a different spelling.
Pete Skenteris, owner of the "Haymont Grill," explains why the sign above his restaurant is spelled the way it is. "They were trying to save money, because neon was very expensive back in the 1950s," he says.
But Skenteris' restaurant has two signs, with two different spellings. He tried to fix the inconsistency back in the 70s, but could not get it right.
"I told the man to put [in] the 'y' and 'u,' and he still skipped the 'u.' He never got it right."
The owner of the "Hamont Grill" wanted to fix his old sign and add a "y." But it has been there so long -- about 40 years -- it is now considered a historic landmark, and no changes are allowed.
Barber Donnie Barefoot says any way will cut it. "When they write a check, they ask you how to spell it. I say 'Either way.' You can spell it three or four ways."
History says the community was named after its first developer, John Hay. Mount came from the area's elevation. At some point, the two names were combined and the English spelling was changed to the French "mont," but the city sticks with "mount."
Of course, even if folks in Fayetteville could agree on how to spell the name, they would still have to figure out how to pronounce it.