pronunciation/origin of Lyon,Gough streets : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

There is a street in SF called Lyon. I know about Lions, and the city of Lyons, France, but how does one pronounce the SF street and what is it named for?

How does one pronounce the SF street Gough? Is it named for Van Gough (I have heard the painter is pronounced Van Gachfchfchfch, i.e. using the nasty horrible Dutch accent/sound thing).

Thanks very much, this is a fun site (and I am home sick as a sick dog)!


-- Bruce Grossan (, December 04, 1998


Lyon Street (pronounced: Lion) was named after Nathaniel Lyon, who was the first Union General to die in battle during the Civil War, at Wilson's Creek. Gough Street (pronounced Goff) was named after Charles H. Gough who helped name streets in the Western Addition. Is it any wonder the next street to the west is named after his sister, Octavia?

-- Robert Summers (, December 07, 1998.

Actually, there's an old poem I can't remember which lists all the different pronunciations of Gough (cough, rough, through, dough, doughty, etc.; there are a dozen or so); I just prefer to pronounce it go-oo-guh-huh.

-- Colin (, January 31, 2000.

I can't remember the entire poem either but it has a memorable close: "You can lead a horse to the watering trough But you can't make him drink And I won't say Gough!"


-- John (, January 31, 2000.

I once found the "Gough" poem in the collections of the San Francisco Public Library, where I think it was in a file collection of newspaper articles about "Gough Street".

The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways. The following sentence contains them all: "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

Ever other line ended with a differently pronounced sight-rhyme, which made it a treat to read aloud. I would love to have a copy.

-- Bob Gough (, January 19, 2002.

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