Who's Trippin' Down the Streets of That [Windy] City

Cecil’s column about the origins of the nicknames Big Apple and the Windy City cries out for any more recent updatings, so I’m starting a thread to put findings in.

But one thing just astounded me. And no, it wasn’t something Cecil wrote. He got it right. It was Barry Popik who dropped my jaw.

What? Just because he happened to find an early cite he made the astonishing - and as it proved, thoroughly wrong - claim that it must be the first? I can’t believe that anybody in the origin game would make a mistake of that magnitude.

Anyway, while we’re waiting for the experts I throw my little bombshell into the arena. I’m sure it’s been found by now but here’s a quote that pushes the starting gate all the way back to 1860!

Milwaukee Daily Sentinel - July 4, 1860, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, page 1

However, that article seems to be credited to the La Crosse Union and Democrat. I wouldn’t dare make any such foolish claim as that it was first!

Barry Popick is likely wailing and gnashing his teeth at this moment, thanks to you Exapno. :frowning:


No need to actually search for this yourself. Barry actually had that one quite a few years back and has antedated it twice since then. To keep yourself up to date, just visit his website Barry Popik and you can search for just about any word you’ve ever wondered about. No one works harder to find word origins than Barry Popik.

And, he did most of his work the old-fashioned way, actually reading the newspapers in libraries.

Since it popped up so easily on Newspaper Archive I was sure, as I said, that someone had noticed it before. (Although they do keep adding newspapers.) I wanted to make sure that people here saw it.

But I remain amazed that Popik (of all people, to use a Safireism) could say that it was born in 1885. I would have thought that nobody researching origins would ever say that unless a coinage was being acknowledged.