Tom Vande Berg came to the Baldwin Village Board on a mission to protect his family name — and to get it spelled properly.

“Vande Berg Street was named in 1984 to honor my father, my uncle who was the village president, my grandfather who was the village clerk for 28 years and my great grandfather who was on the village board for like 20 some years,” Vande Berg explained.

An article from the Baldwin Bulletin, among the documents Vande Berg gave to the board said GJ Vande Berg served on the village board from 1924 to 1932 and 1938 to 1947. George Vande Berg (GJ’s son) was village clerk from 1929-1957. Roy Vande Berg was a village trustee from 1959 – 1967. Jim Vande Berg was a village trustee from 1975 – 1981 and village president from 1981 – 1985.

“The original paperwork on the certified survey map (CSM) showed the correct spelling – the Dutch spelling Vande Berg,” he continued. “Over the years, the CSMs changed the spelling, crammed it all together, put it all in capitals, and that has created a problem now, because everybody believes the CSM and therefore are telling me that the street is spelled with a small ‘B’ and we have tried to fight this battle going on from there.”

“I’ve got an ongoing battle with Google Maps, who don’t believe me. We finally are getting a little closer, I think. I’ve got the county straightened out, the State of Wisconsin we still have a problem, the Department of Transportation is dammed determined it is Vande Berg Drive and they will not let me have Vande Berg Street on my driver’s license,” Vande Berg said.

“So, what I would like to have done is correct it on the street signs and a future CSM the spelling. As far as the street signs go, I am more than willing to pay for new street signs with the proper spelling, upper lower case to able to show the heritage that the street was named after,” he concluded.

A member of the board asked if there was supposed to be a space between the two words. “There is, just like Van Damme and Van Someren,” Vande Berg replied.

“The Baldwin Bulletin is famous for making errors in printing. That’s why you’ll see numerous times in there, there is no space,” Vande Berg said.

City administrator Tracy Carlson asked if Vande Berg was asking the village to correct the spelling on the street signs. “There’s nothing more the village has to do if you’re not changing the name of the street,” she said.

“I would say that in the future you’re going to want to straigten out your CSM to show the correct spelling,” Vande Berg replied. “Perhaps someone could notify DOT and tell them they have the wrong information. There is no Vande Berg Drive,” he said.

Village Engineer Erik Henningsgard will contact the DOT.

Vande Berg requested the new signs be upper and lower case. “If that can’t be done, I would like a space between the words,” he said.

Board President Lance Van Damme Street said signs are all upper case.

“They’re not. All of the street signs by the hospital are upper and lower case,” Vande Berg responded. “One way or the other I would like to see it fixed.”

“Tom I’m on your side. I know exactly how you feel, man because my name has been butchered for years. I just don’t have a street sign,” replied Van Damme. 

“Yet,” Vande Berg said.

“I’ll never have one. No matter what, they’ll spell it wrong anyway,” Van Damme replied.

Van Damme made a motion “to fix the signs the way Tom wants it to be spelled.” The motion passed. 

Vande Berg was asked about how he was faring with his efforts to get the mistake corrected. “Google Maps says street now. They’ve fixed it. That was about 20 emails to get them to recognize they had a mistake there. They still haven’t gotten to the point where they are spacing it and putting a capital B on, but that battle is still being fought. I’ve been giving them your name, Lance and your name, Brad for documentation to show them that’s correct,” he said.

“Please talk with Brad Boldt about the proper spelling,” Van Damme said.

“Thank you very much,” Vande Berg said to the board. 

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning, Brad,” he said to Public Works Director Brad Boldt.

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