How a 12-year-old got an Anchorage street named after a Harry Potter location

a young woman poses for a photo in a building
Twelve-year-old Janna Wilcox stands at the Anchorage Assembly chambers with a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Wilcox was behind the effort to name an Anchorage street Grimmauld Place. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

A street in Anchorage now shares the same name as one from the magical, fictional world of Harry Potter.

The previously unnamed West Anchorage street sits between West 29th and 31st avenues and Doris Street and Lois Drive. The street serves 10 lots and the city determined that it needed a name to better guide emergency services. That got 12-year-old Janna Wilcox thinking. 

“When we got the letter that the street was going to be renamed, I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd, so I was like, ‘What can I name this that’ll be like Harry Potter?’” Wilcox said at Tuesday night’s Assembly meeting. “And I thought, Grimmauld Place.”

In the Harry Potter universe, Grimmauld Place is where Potter’s godfather Sirius Black lives, and where the young wizard occasionally stayed. 

Wilcox said she sent her neighbors a letter with her suggestion, along with some brownies. She said the vote was close among property owners and she was pleased that her name was approved by the mayor. 

“I was really happy when we got the executive order and that Grimmauld Place had won in a coin toss,” Wilcox said.

Anchorage Assembly members like Karen Bronga applauded Wilcox for engaging in the public process. 

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

The Assembly unanimously approved naming the street Grimmauld Place.

a portrait of a man outside

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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