Sunday, June 20, 2010

Georgia cities

I'm sure it's a coincidence, but Georgia has more cities that share names with other well-known cities than anywhere else I've been. There are Athens, Rome, and Sparta; Vienna, Milan, and Dublin; Albany, Boston, and Columbus; Dallas, Duluth, Decatur, Gainesville, Macon, Roswell, and Augusta. When in Georgia, you have to be careful to specify which of the above cities you are talking about. Actually, this is easy for some of them, because Georgians have their own special pronunciations: Vienna is vye-ENN-uh, Milan is MY-len, and the town of Lafayette is la-FAY-et.

Sure, every state has some towns that share names with cities in other states, but most of them are tiny towns of no importance. Augusta, Columbus, Athens, Macon, Roswell, and Albany are all among Georgia's top 10 largest cities, and Gainesville, Rome, and Dublin are among the state's top 20 metropolitan areas. Albany and Macon hold the dubious distinction of being among the country's 10 poorest cities. Duluth and Decatur are important Atlanta suburbs. Imagine my surprise when I first heard that a large Pokemon tournament that my kids wanted to play in would take place in Duluth.

Many of these towns were named after their more famous predecessors (Athens, Rome, Sparta, and Albany, for instance); others were named after the same person, such as Columbus and Decatur. Macon was named after a person of that name, not the city in France, and my home county of Houston (pronounced HOW-ston) was named after a governor of Georgia, not the famous Sam Houston who pronounces his name funny.

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