Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A Visit to Old Dunton

An intangible souvenir from our visit last weekend to the Arlington Heights Historical Museum: the town used to be called Dunton. These days, there's a north-south side street of that name parallel to the much busier Arlington Heights Road, a Dunton Tower Apartments, and some other local businesses of that name in the town, but not so many other traces of the old name, which was abandoned in the 1870s. Apparently the town elders wanted the cachet of Arlington, modified by heights to add elevation that the area doesn't naturally possess.

They should have stuck with Dunton. It's distinctive. A check with the USGS Geographic Names Information System reveals only one other U.S. populated place called Dunton, in Colorado, though there's a subdivision in called the Dunton Addition in Montgomery County, Va.

It's an obscure example but still fascinates just a little, the way former names, or alternate names, or the way names are rendered or mis-rendered across languages, should fascinate. Or maybe that's just me, who enjoyed discovering the progression from Serendip to Ceylon to Sri Lanka. For me, a page like this is a fine way to pass the time.



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