Writing Prompt: Think about the town where you currently live: its local customs, traditions, and hangouts, its slang. What would be the strangest thing about this place for a first-time visitor?
With over 200 neighborhoods Chicago really is a city of neighborhoods, and as you can imagine every neighborhood has their own customs, slangs (depending on where you are language) history and hangouts. I think that’s one of the things that makes this city so great. Let’s take a look at how some of them got their names; Bronzeville: This area on the South Side was apparently named by Chicago Bee theater editor James J. Gentry because he said it reflected the skin tone of its residents. Hyde Park: Paul Cornell (Born in 1822 of a distinguished New England family)was a cousin of Ezra Cornell, the founder of Cornell University came to Chicago in 1847. A lawyer and entrepreneur, he became friendly with many of the leading citizens of the rising new town. On the advice of Senator Stephen Douglas, he invested in land south of the city. In 1853 he bought 300 acres of lakefront land–and named his purchase Hyde Park, after the London park.
Bu on to a question, I don’t think the traditions OR slang is more prevalent until you remove yourself from the area and move somewhere else. When I was 11 years old, my family moved from Chicago to Milwaukee, WI and to the average person someone would think that it’s not that far.. true it’s a little over 100 miles. BUT as soon as I got there people instantly knew that I “wasn’t from around here”. The most glaring difference is I came from a place where they called it pop and I moved somewhere that called it soda… walking around Fristsche Middle School and asking for where the water fountain was got me the nastiest glares, one girl actually said, “what you meant to say is where is the bubbler” It wasn’t until I was older that I realized there was a reason behind it…. and it was all about branding.
Back in 1889, a man named Harlan Huckleby designed the very first bubbler. There were other types of drinking fountains in existence, but this design was unique. It had a spout that shot a little stream of water about an inch in the air so people could slurp it up. Eventually this device was picked up and patented by what was then called Kohler Water Works and today is the plumbing fixture giant Kohler Company of Kohler, Wisconsin. Kohler also gave the new product its name and The Bubbler was born. The original Bubbler designs still exist. You can find some near the Wisconsin State Capitol building in Madison.
So there you have it… not only was I infringing on an important part of Wisconsin history…. but it was a major branding faux pas.
Until Next Time….