[Tagging] Building names, historical/original owner?

Adam Franco adamfranco at gmail.com
Fri Dec 14 15:34:43 UTC 2018

I have a question about `name=` and variants of names. I've been reading a
lot of local history and in the architecture/history world, houses are
generally named for the first resident that they were built for. E.g.
"Johnson house" and are referred to in this way even after many generations
of new owners. After adding a few of these names to the `name=
<https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:name>` tag I realized that this
might be problematic as `name=` seems to be given higher rendering priority
than house number (at least on openstreetmap.org and Maps.me), potentially
causing wayfinding confusion as addresses disappear and long-dead owners
names start popping up.

For some of these buildings they are commonly referred to by the public
using this historical-owner name. For example the "Osborne house"
<https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/378028294>  in my town was referred to
as such in public meetings and newspapers several years ago when it was
picked up and moved. It now has a new address as a result of this move.

In many other cases buildings are locally referred to by their current
address or current occupant. Especially in the case of a building taken up
by a single business, locals will simply refer to the building as the
"<name of business> building".  The historical-owner name is still valid
and interesting for cross-referencing historical materials, but it likely
isn't well known and in many cases and wouldn't be useful for wayfinding as
it would not be found on signage.

What are folks thoughts about these historical-owner building names when
they aren't well-known? Should they go in a `description=
<https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:description>` tag, `alt_name=
<https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:alt_name>`, or some other tag?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.
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