— Stephen Vincent Benet
American Novelist (1898-1943)
“Home” is where the heart is and a “town” with a name is easier to find on a roadmap.
Put’em together and you’ve got “hometown” and Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland wants to brand ours with an identifying nickname or slogan that says a little about a lot. It’s all about marketing that makes folks want to come here, visit here and even live here.
In his unofficially titled “What’s in a Name?” contest, the mayor is giving imaginations everywhere until Sept. 30 to submit suggestions for Cleveland. Sky’s the limit. The innovative-minded can submit anywhere from one to one zillion names — although the latter figure will admittedly pose a time challenge for the mayor’s personally selected panel of judges.
The mayor wants Cleveland’s new image by early October ... 2011.
Cities across America have been doing it for years. Now it’s our turn. In this final installment to our series on cities with a nickname, we’ll pick up with Utah.
In the home of the “Utes,” Cottonwood Heights is known as “City Between the Canyons.” The folks in Kanab were inspired when they came up with “Utah’s Little Hollywood” and “Greatest Earth on Show.” Orem is “Family City USA” and Provo is “Happy Valley.” Salt Lake City rubs it in with a pair of titles, “City of the Saints” and “Crossroads of the West.”
In the New England state of Vermont, Barre is “Granite Capital of the World.” The good people of Burlington like “The Queen City” or “The People’s Republic of Burlington,” the latter of which apparently dates back to a mayor named Bernie Sanders. St. Albans is “Rail City” and Winooski is “The Onion City,” assuredly a land of many tears.
In Virginia, Bristol claims to be “The Birthplace of Country Music,” a title it shares with its cross-border twin in Tennessee. Charlottesville is “So Very Virginia” and Colonial Beach is “Oyster Capital of the Potomac.” I really like the tag chosen by Fredericksburg, “Where History Never Gets Old.”
The Virginians in Lynchburg live by “City of Seven Hills” and “The Hill City.” Norfolk is “Life, Celebrated Daily” and Roanoke is “Star City of the South.” Winchester claims to be “Apple Capital of the World.”
In West Virginia, Bluefield is “Nature’s Air Conditioned City,” Petersburg is “Home of the Golden Trout” and Weirton is “Forged by Steel.”
In Wyoming, the towns have enjoyed a smorgasbord of trademark. Perhaps their names also hinged on thousand-dollar cash prizes. Cheyenne is “The Magic City of the Plains.” Cody is “Rodeo Capital of the World.” Douglas is “Jackalope Capital of the World” (no, I didn’t look it up). Laramie is “Gem City of the Plains.” Lovell is “The Rose City of Wyoming.” Meeteetse is “Where Chiefs Meet.” Riverton is “We’ve Got All the Civilization You Need.” Saratoga is “Where the Trout Leap in Main Street.” And Upton tops the charts in humility, “The Best Town on Earth.”
Several states didn’t get mentioned in this series, including New York and Texas. They’re so big that I.M. Google granted them their own lists.
In New York, even the boroughs have nicknames. The Bronx is “Boogie Down” and “The Birthplace of Hip-Hop,” and Brooklyn is “The Borough of Churches” and “The Borough of Trees.”
Buffalo believes in numbers. This town’s list of aliases includes “The City of Good Neighbors,” “The City of No Illusions,” “The Nickel City” and “The Queen City of the Great Lakes.” Chazy is “The World Capital of McIntosh Apples” while Cooperstown is the “Birthplace of Baseball” and Corinth is “Snowshoe Capital of the World.”
Haverstraw is “Bricktown” and Nanuet is “The Bubble.” New Rochelle is “Queen City of the Sound.”
Then there’s New York City. Yes, “The Big Apple.” Other nicknames include “The Capital of the World,” “The City That Never Sleeps,” “Empire City” and “Gotham” (Holy Identity Crisis, Batman! Just a little tired humor now that this series is finally winding down.)
New York’s most unique slogan is “The City So Nice, They Named It Twice.”
Down Texas way, the towns aren’t necessarily sleeping either. Austin is the “City of the Violet Crown” and Brady is “The True Heart of Texas.” College Station is “Aggieland.” Sort of like Vols Nation, I guess.
I’m not sure I’d be enthralled to be residents of these two Texas watering holes — Corsicana is “Fruit Cake Capital of the World” and Cuero is “Turkey Capital of the World.” OK, OK. To the Corsicana and Cuero mayors, I apologize.
Dallas is “The Big D,” “Triple D” and “The Jingle City.” Eagle Pass blends cultures with, “Where Yee-Ha Meets Ole.” Fort Davis bills itself, “Where the Stars Come Out to Play” and Fort Worth claims to be “Funkytown” and “Where the West Begins.”
The Texans in Happy knew what they were doing with, “The Town Without a Frown.” The population in Hereford must be dentist-heavy judging from its slogan, “Town Without a Toothache.” San Angelo is “The End of the Rainbow” and San Antonio is “The Alamo City.”
Texas City is “City By the Bay” and Tyler is “Rose Capital of the World.” Now settle down there, Pasadena! Other people can have roses, too.
So there you have it — a glimpse at American towns and the words that made them famous.
Remember your “What’s in a Name?” deadline, Cleveland — Sept. 30.
Good luck, and happy slogans!
(Editor’s Note: Submit Cleveland entries by mail to Cleveland Contest, Office of the Mayor, City of Cleveland, 190 Church St. N.E., Cleveland, TN 37311; or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.)