Name That Landmark
AS I travel about this great country of ours, often running and jumping, then tripping and stumbling, before falling and skinning my knees, my curiosity is always piqued by the names of our well known landmarks. I’m just a bowl full of questions to the paramedics as they tend to my wounds with, “Who names the landmarks?” “What do the names mean?” “A little more morphine, pleeeease?”
If this has you in a dither rest easy because after a little research (you would need a microscope to see how little) I have come up with some fascinating facts that will have you brimming with ennui in no time.
For instance did you know that Yellowstone National Park was named after a general who served in the Revolutionary War? (The General doesn’t know because he’s either dead or in a great hiding place.) General William “Old Yellow” Stone is the name bearer of this natural treasure. While leading his men against an outnumbered and much weaker foe, General Stone, displaying courage seldom seen in a man of his size, ran away. Fortunately for us he was a Redcoat.
In 1936 the Golden Gate Bridge, near completion, held a contest to find a name. Mac Naught, a local writer, saw this as an opportunity to become famous. So seizing the moment he grabbed the bull by the horns and was promptly gored to death. His entry “Long Slab Over a Bunch of Water Bridge” was submitted posthumously and immediately rejected.
But Mac had the last laugh (more of a chuckle) as 1000 pounds of gold along with his writings were discovered buried under his home’s front gate. Although his prose was ridiculed at the time, it was later written, “A wonderful author whose time was far too short.” But, sadly, not about him.
In a little known (and even less cared about) tale, The Gateway Arch in St. Louis was originally called the Basil Dulling Cathedral. But because it’s not a cathedral and Basil wasn’t connected in any way with the arch and, besides, his name was Debbie, it was changed to its current moniker, Mount Vernon.
“Remember the Alamo,” is a cry firmly ground into our history but its name remains a mystery. Scholars are divided with one camp insisting “alamo” is a form of Spanish for “tree groves” that grew near, while others contend it was the name of a group of soldiers who once lived there. There is also a small sect (a guy named Benny and his parrot) that believe it was named after brothers Morris and Alan Liplow who rented the building in the early 1800’s. While their Skate and Ski Rental business faded fast, the name
‘Al & Mo’s’ remains. (If you’re groaning having read that imagine how I felt writing it!)
Although my exhaustive inquires into the name origins of Grant’s Tomb and the Lincoln Memorial have proved fruitless up to this point, the investigation continues.