After American independence did locals vote on town/city/state names? Just curious about the naming history of US places. I know some were named in honour of individuals involved in American Independence, but what of others?
almost 2 years ago
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It varies from place to place. Beyond early settlers/town founders, Native American place names (or Anglicized versions thereof) are common, as are "New" names (New York, New Jersey, etc). Biblical names exist (Philadelphia). And for some places, like Atlanta, where I live, the original name was something else, though it wasn't often a vote to change the name. In the case of Atlanta, that original name was Terminus, because it was the end of the railroad line. Then it was Marthasville (after the Governor's daughter), then the intent was for it to be "Atlantica-Pacifica" which was shortened to Atlanta.
The first Europeans in an area had a strong effect on place names: Louisiana, originally a French territory, has a lot of French names in the southern areas. California gets a lot of Spanish names (Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc)
Basically, there's no set way. The way to know how a place was named is to look up the history of that place, and know that the next town over could have been named for a different reason (I actually live in the City of Decatur, which is part of the Atlanta Metro area, which was named for Stephen Decatur -
. It's not part of Decatur County, though, which is also named for him. :)
I recently learned the origin of the name of Half Day Road. I had also assumed it was a half-day's travel to/from somewhere, but I was wrong. It's named after Chief Aptakisic ("center of the sun" or "half day") but there's more to the story.
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