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Huckleberries Online

Feds Declare War On Apostrophes

The Domestic Names Committee of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names doesn't like apostrophes. Visitors to Harpers Ferry or Pikes Peak might not realize it, but anyone aspiring to name a ridge or a swamp after a local hero will soon find out. In this Adirondack town, pop. 1,219, a move is on to put a mountain on the map in honor of James Cameron, who settled here in 1773. There is some dispute as to which mountain, and whether to call it Jimmy's Peak, Jimmie's Peak or James' Peak. But there is no opposition to the apostrophe—except from the government/Barry Newman, Wall Street Journal. More here.

  • In the same article, reporter Barry Newman writes: “Irish names (O'Fallon, Ill.) and French ones (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) aren't possessives and get by.”

Question: Do you support the Domestic Names Committee's move to strike apostrophes from geographic names?


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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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