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  #1  
Old 08-21-2005, 10:21 PM
Sassafras_Kid Sassafras_Kid is offline
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Greek City names in Upstate New York

While traveling I noticed a minor trend. Why are there so many towns & cities in upstate New York with Greek names:

Utica
Syracuse
Troy
Ithaca

and many more

Was it a trend during colonial times or much later?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 08-21-2005, 10:29 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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There are hundreds of classical names for towns in Upstate New York. Too many for one easy explanation. However, the Greek nation had a revolutionary episode in the 1820s that was considered to be inspired by and parallel to our own revolution. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 made upstate a booming economy to which many people flocked. Because the two events occurred together, many towns were given classical names in honor of the Greeks.
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Old 08-21-2005, 11:24 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I'd say it's more that those are college towns. The ancient Greeks are widely considered to be intellectual, or at least worthy objects of study for modern intellectuals, so college towns tend to get Greek names. See also Athens, OH and many other states.
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Old 08-22-2005, 12:06 AM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase
There are hundreds of classical names for towns in Upstate New York.
How about a shout out for my former hometown, Greece, NY, a suburb of Rochester. According to the wikipedia entry, "The Town of Greece was established in 1822 ...The name Greece was selected because of the contemporary struggle of Greece for independence from Turkey."
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Old 08-22-2005, 12:47 AM
friedo friedo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
I'd say it's more that those are college towns. The ancient Greeks are widely considered to be intellectual, or at least worthy objects of study for modern intellectuals, so college towns tend to get Greek names. See also Athens, OH and many other states.
And Athens, NY! But it doesn't really have anything to do with colleges being nearby. Most of those cities were settled in the early 19th century and had names before the local institutes of higher learning (many of which are now part of SUNY) were established.
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Old 08-22-2005, 01:55 AM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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According to Stewart, both Athens OH and Athens GA were named such because colleges were intended to be founded in those towns.

Troy NY was the first classical name given in 1789. It kind of set the tone for the rest of upstate NY along with Seneca Lake, which was not named after the Roman philosopher, but still gave a classical influence anyway.
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Old 08-22-2005, 06:46 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is online now
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This was actually used as a joke in a Three Stooges movie (!!)


"Our story begins in Ithaca... No, not that Ithaca (showing a map of the island off Greece), This Ithaca (showing map pf upstate New York,.[/i]. It was in The Three Stooges Meet Hercules, one of the Norman Maurer-produced full length movies with Curly Joe, made during the "Hercules" boom in the early 1960s.



Back when these towns were being settled, Greek was part of any middle- to upper-class education, taught (and expected) in colleges and even high schools (Heinlein notes that his ancestors learned it, and I pointed out that Helen Keller did, too). It's not really surprising that so many places were given classic names -- they were o familiar to the people doing the naming.


And it wasn't only New York. I always thought it interesting and strange that the Elysian Fields were in Hoboken, New Jersey, right across the Hudson from Manhattan.
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Old 08-22-2005, 09:06 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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There was a big ancient Greek revival in the early 19th century. There was a lot of new scholarship done on the ancient Greeks at the time, so that, for instance, there are standard reference works on the ancient Greeks still used today are just updated versions of 19th century works. There was a fad for (pseudo-)classical Greek architecture at the time. The ancient Greeks were held up as being the most important precursors of modern democracy. There were a lot of American towns given Greek names (particularly in the South, as I recall).
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Old 08-22-2005, 09:42 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner
There were a lot of American towns given Greek names (particularly in the South, as I recall).
This is interesting now that you mention it:

Troy, AL
Athens, GA (home of the University of Georgia)
Alexandria, LA (Greek name of an Egyptian city)
Memphis, TN (also a Greek name of an Egyptian city, right?)
Corinth, MS

There are certainly many, many more than those.
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2005, 10:29 AM
tdn tdn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassafras_Kid
Utica
Syracuse
Troy
Ithaca

and many more
As mentioned, Greece.

Macedon (where I lived)
Egypt

Also:

Chili
Mexico

What else?
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2005, 10:53 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Not 100% but there's Athens, Attica, Babylon, Bethlehem, Brutus, Cairo, Caledonia, Canaan, Carthage, Cicero, Cincinnatus, Corfu, Corinth, Delhi, Eden, Elma, Fabius, Fredonia, Goshen, Greece, Hector, Hemlock, Homer, Ilion, Ithaca, Jericho, Jordan, Latham, Livonia, Lysander, Macedon, Malta, Manlius, Marathon, Marcellus, Minerva, Mount Sinai, New Lebanon, Olean, Ovid, Palmyra, Phoenicia, Phoenix, Rome, Romulus, Sardinia, Savona, Scio, Scipio Center, Sodus, Syracuse, Troy, Utica, Vestal, and West Seneca
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2005, 02:20 PM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
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IRC, Ypsilanti, Michigan got its name from a Greek Patriot.

I can't find a link to verify or disclaim it anywhere.
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2005, 02:58 PM
Genghis Bob Genghis Bob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
IRC, Ypsilanti, Michigan got its name from a Greek Patriot.

I can't find a link to verify or disclaim it anywhere.
I never knew this . . . Ypsilanti, Michigan

Quote:
In 1825, three prominent settlers, Judge Augustus Woodward, John Stewart and William Harwood, combined portions of their own land to form the original plat for a new settlement at the crossing, which was named for the Greek Patriot General Demetrius Ypsilanti. In the struggle of the Greek people against Turkish tyranny appeared an outstanding heroic figure, Demetrius Ypsilanti.
Very cool stuff.
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  #14  
Old 08-22-2005, 03:05 PM
Genghis Bob Genghis Bob is offline
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Originally Posted by Genghis Bob
I never knew this . . . Ypsilanti, Michigan



Very cool stuff.
Funny thing . . . I always assumed Ypsilanti was an Indian name, like so many other names in Michigan.

Of course, there's another familiar name in that site. . . Judge Augustus Woodward, after whom Woodward Avenue was named:
Quote:
When fire raced through Detroit in 1805, only one building was left standing in the tiny settlement. But rather than give up and leave, prominent Detroiters including the territorial governor, William Hull, and the territorial supreme court judge, Augustus Brevoort Woodward, went to Washington to seek funding to rebuild Detroit.
That fellow really got around.
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2005, 03:35 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque
It kind of set the tone for the rest of upstate NY along with Seneca Lake, which was not named after the Roman philosopher, but still gave a classical influence anyway.
Seneca Lake, West Seneca, and the rest take their name from the native American tribe that was native to Western New York.
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