After thinking about Chicago suburbs with elevation clues in their names, I was reminded of the names of Chicago suburbs more broadly. To quote again from the WBEZ story:
One-hundred years ago we named places very differently, Callary says. Places were named after a town founder, or family member, or after something that indicated the place’s actual, physical presence in the world. Today, it’s more common to name a place after what you want it to be, rather than what’s actually there.
So how exactly did developers and local leaders come up with all of the existing Chicago area names? It could have looked like this:
I had to check on Willowridge because it puts together two commonly used words in suburban place names. I found some companies with this name as well as one suburban street but no official place.
Here are the next ten names generated:
Out of these, I would vote for Glenside as the most probable.
On one hand, this all makes sense: suburbs often want to invoke nature and idyllic settings. On the other hand, such anodyne names invoke the conformity and dullness of suburbs many suburban critiques have noted.
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