Metro’s Medical Center station was almost called “Pooks Hill,” and Navy Yard could have been “Weapons Plant.” This 1967 map shows some of the amusing names that WMATA considered for a number of Metro stations.
Aside from Medical Center and Navy Yard having different names, you’ll notice that Pentagon City is named Virginia Highlands and Federal Center SW is named Voice of America.
The names are crisper and more creative than the awkward over-hyphenization that is so common in today’s system. Originally operating under a 15 character limit, Woodley Park - Zoo / Adams Morgan is shown more elegantly as Zoological Park (you can see where this one appears on the little map in the top left below), and Gallery Place - Chinatown is named Fine Arts (because of the Portrait Gallery).
In 2010, Matt Johnson wrote about “namesprawl,” the “result of the idea that station names have to reflect absolutely everything remotely close by. This is generally done to encourage people to ride transit to these venues.”
This map was included in a pamphlet that outlined the congressionally approved “basic system.” It’s surprising to think that a name like Weapons Plant made it through the committee process unscathed.
It’s also amusing to see the proposal’s high minded promise that “SERVICE WILL BE FREQUENT: Air conditioned trains will run every two minutes at peak hours.”
An expanded version of this article appears on the Architect of the Capital blog.