12-Year-Old Names a Street in Alaska After a “Harry Potter” Location

Thanks to a 12-year-old Harry Potter fan, there is now a street in Anchorage, Alaska, named after a well-known Potter location: Grimmauld Place.

Sitting between West 29th and 31st avenues and Doris Street and Lois Drive, the street in West Anchorage serves ten lots. It was deemed important to name the street in order to provide emergency services with a more precise location.

When 12-year-old Janna Wilcox received a letter saying the street was to be named, the self-confessed “huge Harry Potter nerd” had an idea to read through the Potter books for inspiration. 

We had to have it end in place, so I read the Harry Potter book a bit. And I was thinking like, ‘Oh, what’s this?’ And ‘I’m like, Oh my gosh, Grimmauld place.’ Like, how did I not think of that?

To persuade her neighbours to choose the magical name, she sent them a letter and some brownies. The vote was reportedly close, but Grimmauld Place was approved by the Mayor.


Janna Wilcox at the Anchorage Assembly chambers with a copy of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (Credit: Wesley Early and Alaska Public Media)

Janna Wilcox at the Anchorage Assembly chambers with a copy of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (Credit: Wesley Early and Alaska Public Media)


Wilcox said she was “really happy” when Grimmauld Place was chosen at the Assembly meeting, and her efforts were applauded by Anchorage Assembly members, including Karen Bronga.

I am really pleased with your outreach and coming up and speaking. I think you are a bright light in community activism, and keep it up.

Wilcox spoke about how the decision making process by the board and the mayor was more complicated than she expected it to be. 

I was not expecting that to happen. I thought I’d just come up. They’d vote on it and that would happen. But this is a lot more big of a deal than I thought it’d be.

She hopes that her success will encourage more young people to get involved in their communities, and her mum, Lieza Wilcox, spoke about how proud her parents are of her.

Oh, I think she’s found her calling. We don’t know what she’ll do with it, but we’re very proud of her actually knowing how municipal rules work.

Known for being the ancestral home of the Black family, the fictional 12 Grimmauld Place is located in London, hidden between number 11 and 13. It was briefly the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, and the name is a play on the words “grim” and “old.”

This isn’t the first time a real-life place has been given a Potter name; recently a newly discovered exoplanet was named after the Potter character Percival Dumbledore.

Even some new species of animals have been given Potter-inspired names, such as the ant species named after Voldemort, a microorganism named after Nagini, and a species of pit viper that was named after Salazar Slytherin.

We love that Grimmauld Place has become a real place here in the Muggle world. What would you have gone for if you’d had the chance to name the Alaskan street? 

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