Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Confusing Apostrophes!

Via Beyond Red and Blue, the city of Birmingham England is removing the apostrophe from its place names.

I immediately thought of my own street.

I’ve noted this for some time when ordering online;  every time I’d enter “St Peter’s St.”, I would be told it was not an official address.  The closest address in the database was always “St. Peters St.”

Then new signs went up as part of the bypass road which read “St. Peters St.”

Quoting the article:

The US dropped such punctuation in 1890 when the US Board of Geographic Names removed the apostrophe from its database. Only five exceptions have ever been made, including Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in 1933.

I pulled up the 1897 atlas from and noted that my street was then called, in the map, “St Peter St.”.  Nearby, where the Parker Brothers complex would later be, there was an tidal pool, St. Peter’s Inlet. 

In the 1911 atlas, it’s still listed as “St Peter St.” and the inlet has been filled in.

Searching Live Maps today, my street is St. Peter St.

So, what’s my right street?  St. Peter or St. Peters?

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