H.L. Mencken (18801956). The American Language. 1921.
with various old and new Grundwörter, as Pittsburgh, Knoxville, Baileys Switch, Hagerstown, Franklinton, Dodge City, Fort Riley, Wayne Junction and McKeesport; and yet others are contrived of given names, either alone or in combination, as Louisville, St. Paul, Elizabeth, Johnstown, Charlotte, Williamsburg and Marysville. All our great cities are surrounded by grotesque Bensonhursts, Bryn Joneses, Smithvales and Krauswoods. The number of towns in the United States bearing womens given names is enormous. I find, for example, eleven postoffices called Charlotte, ten called Ada and no less than nineteen called Alma. Most of these places are small, but there is an Elizabeth with 75,000 population, an Elmira with 40,000, and an Augusta with nearly 45,000.
The names of the second class we have already briefly observed. They are betrayed in many cases by the prefix New; more than 600 such postoffices are recorded, ranging from New Albany to New Windsor. Others bear such prefixes as West, North and South, or various distinguishing affixes, e. g., Bostonia, Pittsburgh Landing, Yorktown and Hartford City. One often finds eastern county names applied to western towns and eastern town names applied to western rivers and mountains. Thus, Cambria, which is the name of a county but not of a postoffice in Pennsylvania, is a town in seven western states; Baltimore is the name of a glacier in Alaska, and Princeton is the name of a peak in Colorado. In the same way the names of the more easterly states often reappear in the west, e. g., in Mount Ohio, Colo., Delaware, Okla., and Virginia City, Nev. The tendency to name small American towns after the great capitals of antiquity has excited the derision of the English since the earliest days; there is scarcely an English book upon the states without some fling at it. Of late it has fallen into abeyance, though sixteen Athenses still remain, and there are yet many Carthages, Uticas, Syracuses, Romes, Alexandrias, Ninevehs and Troys. The third city of the nation, Philadelphia, got its name from the ancient stronghold of Philadelphus of Pergamon. To make up for the falling off of this old and flamboyant custom, the more recent immigrants have brought with them the names of the capitals and other great cities of their fatherlands. Thus the American map bristles with Berlins, Bremens, Hamburgs, Warsaws and Leipzigs, and is