IDEA: What’s In A Name?

Downtown Smyrna, GA

Downtown Smyrna, GA (Photo credit: The Ken Cook)

17 Dec 1998 Thursday, ~8:40 pm

I’m stopped now beside the road within sight of Smyrna Boots on 70 South East in central Tennessee.

How is there a Smyrna in Tennessee and one in Georgia and yet another in New York and one in lower Delaware?

How are they connected by their common name?

Is any of them connected to the ancient Greek city of Smyrna?  In case you were wondering, this Smyrna, although Greek, was, according to Wikipedia, in what is now Izmir, Turkey.

View on the agora; in the back : columns along...

View on the agora; in the back : columns along the western stoa; Izmir, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone, perhaps even me, should do a study of small towns, their names, and their origins.  One could pick any stretch of road in America — preferably one with some history to it — and devote a chapter to each small town and its name and history.  This could break down as a meditation on place.  We could get into the history, migratory patterns, local/regional character/color as well.

One could use one stretch of road and its small towns to extrapolate about the culture of small town America and the importance of a sense of place.  One could do this in any country, though America is the country of my birth, so I know it better than I would know any other.