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On the subject of names

There is an issue that crops up occasionally at the newspaper office that has always annoyed me a little bit. It isn’t a big problem, but it gets on my nerves like a fly buzzing around my head when it comes up: what to call the residential area surrounding Marion County Park and Lake.

Calling those neighborhoods Marion County Park and Lake doesn’t feel right. The people don’t live in the park; they aren’t campers. Saying someone is from Marion County Lake bothers me, too. Unless there are mer-people I don’t know about, nobody actually lives in the lake.

I could call it rural Marion, which would be accurate, strictly speaking. But that is too vague; it doesn’t distinguish between folks who live on farmsteads and the people who live in the homes crowded around the lake. I think that is a distinction worth making.

The lake opened for public use in 1940. I can’t imagine it took too long after that for people to start building cabins around the lake. How does an area so distinct go without a name of its own for more than 70 years? Marion Reservoir wasn’t built until almost 30 years later, but it’s residential neighborhood has a name — Eastshore.

I’m probably making a mountain out of a molehill, but this is just something that has bothered me for a while. If it was a real problem, a big problem, something would have been done about it before now. Maybe I’m the only person bothered by what to call the community around the lake — nobody I’ve mentioned it to has ever seemed to think it was a problem — but I think there is an opportunity for the folks who live around the lake to define their collective identity.

— Adam Stewart

Last modified May 3, 2012

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