No, that’s not a typo in the headline. The local historical figure and namesake for Louden Nelson Community Center was actually named London—not Louden—Nelson. Which brings us to the first of seven fascinating facts about the man, who was born 213 years ago this Sunday, May 5.
1. His name was London, but, starting in the 1930s, it appeared as Louden. In an April 2007 missive, local historian Phil Reader wrote, "One of the more perplexing and frustrating aspects of the London Nelson story is the constant misspelling of his given, or Christian name. Perplexing in that it is difficult to determine the origin of this mistake and frustrating because of the countless number of well-meaning people who continue to perpetuate and compound the original error." In his investigation into the matter, Reader found that all primary sources up until the 1930s correctly listed Nelson’s first name as London. But after that, it mysteriously shifted to Louden. The source may be the engraver of (or the person who gave the engraver the text for) a marble headstone, which read "Louden," that replaced the original wooden monument to Nelson. Reader concludes his memo with the following plea: "It is my hope that someday, someone will bring this mistake to the attention of those who can take the necessary steps to change all of the monuments and plaques so at last the true name of LONDON NELSON can take its rightful place of honor in our community."