Road in East End named in honor of local fiddler

Fiddlers Way in East End is named in honor of one of Cayman’s finest fiddlers, the late Radley Gourzong.

Born June 4, 1921, in the district of East End, Mr. Gourzong spent his life charming audiences with his fiddle playing and being revered as one of the best quadrille and waltz “Kitchen Dance” fiddlers of his time.

His musical performances expanded from his hometown of East End to performing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, after which he was given the key to the city.

Mr. Gourzong performed all over the Cayman Islands, first as a soloist and later with his group, Radley Gourzong and the Happy Boys, and iconic drummer Julia Hydes, according to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation.

Among his many decorations are the Cayman National Cultural Foundation Heritage Award for his pioneering cultural work, and the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour.

Mr. Gourzong had four children by his wife Jennifer.

He died on Feb. 19, 1995.

“The idea to rename the road came from Mr. Gourzong himself,” said Eulene McLaughlin, a resident of Fiddlers Way. “Before that, the area was known as Blue Hill.”

Mr. Gourzong built his home on Fiddlers Way, which is now occupied by his granddaughter Samantha. Today, more than 20 homes occupy the cul-de-sac.

Fiddlers Way runs off East End’s main Sea View Road, just past the home of well-known East End cook Marvelle McLaughlin on Welcome Way.

Years ago, the area was an access point for farmers in the community to get to their land located on the cliff top, according to resident Edney McLean.

To honor its history and people, Mr. McLean some time ago arranged for cement steps to be built on Fiddlers Way, so residents in the area could have an escape route to John McLean Drive in the event of a major hurricane.

“All my life I knew the area as Blue Hill,” Mr. McLean said.

“I only knew it as Blue Hill, too,” said Janice McLaughlin, another resident of Fiddlers Way.

The late Radley Gourzong performs for the crowd in earlier years.

“The Street Naming Committee put the names wrong. Where Blue Hill is, they put the sign Welcome Way, and where Welcome Way is they put Blue Hill [Drive],” Mr. McLean explained. “It’s nothing we can do about it now. There is no sign, but we know it as Fiddlers Way and that’s all that matters,” he added.

“Mr. Radley used to live right next door, all I remember [is] he used to be with that fiddle going all around playing and the girls dancing … Mr. Warren Conolly’s stage was the place,” said Janice McLaughlin with a laugh, as she recalled the many nights joining others for a twirl on the dance floor.

Fiddlers Park – on Fiddlers Way – a place where residents go to relax and have fun, is also named in Mr. Gourzong’s honor.

This article is part of an ongoing series that explores the stories behind some of Cayman’s unusual road names.