St. Mary’s County Commissioner Todd Morgan (R) would like to get part of Route 235 (Three Notch Road) dedicated in honor of the late J. Frank Raley, a former state legislator and influential force for nearly 60 years in St. Mary’s. The rest of the commissioners are scheduled to take up the matter later this month.
Raley, who served as a state delegate from 1955 to 1959 and state senator from 1963 to 1966, died in 2012 at the age of 85.
Morgan said he would like to have Route 235 from Route 4 to Great Mills Road ceremoniously named after Raley. It would not change any addresses or street signs, Morgan said.
It would be similar to the southern part of Route 4 in Calvert County being dedicated to Louis Goldstein, former comptroller.
“J. Frank was probably one of the greatest thinkers we had here to develop the Lexington Park area and St. Mary’s County,” Morgan said Tuesday.
Raley “sacrificed a lot of his political career for the betterment of St. Mary’s County,” Morgan said. “He always put the county and its citizens before himself.”
As state senator in the 1960s, Raley joined the governor to banish slot machines, which were prevalent in Southern Maryland. Raley was not re-elected. Slots were phased out by 1968, but soon replaced with the Maryland Lottery.
To replace the economic and political reliance on slot machines the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland was established. St. Mary’s College of Maryland became a four-year institution and a bill was passed in 1966 for the creation of a new bridge across the southern Patuxent River to connect Calvert and St. Mary’s counties, which opened in late 1977.
As a senator, Raley introduced 90 bills to reform St. Mary’s County government. As a delegate he was instrumental in the creation of the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission to stop river pollution from development in Lexington Park.
“He’s deserving in recognition for what he did for our community,” Morgan said.
St. Mary’s County’s circuit courthouse in Leonardtown will be renamed for Raley’s colleague, John Hanson Briscoe. Briscoe served as a state delegate, speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates and a circuit court judge.
Morgan said he hasn’t thought far enough ahead on how Route 235 would show Raley’s name, whether it would be signs or brick posts, as in Calvert County for Goldstein.
Morgan needs the concurrence of the rest of the St. Mary’s County commissioners, and then the commissioners need the agreement of the Maryland State Highway Administration.
The Maryland Department of Transportation, which oversees SHA, says in its dedication policy that facilities may be named after “a distinguished individual who is deceased or retired from public or community service and who is widely recognized and renowned for service that has been characterized by exceptional achievement.”
The name of Route 235 itself, Three Notch Road, has been in use since Maryland was a colony. A 1704 law established that roads were to be made passable for horse and man at the heads of rivers, creeks, branches and swamps and that trees along roads were to be marked: one slit meant the road led to a church, trees with two notches meant the road led to a courthouse and three notches meant the road went to a ferry.