abatef abatef at COMPUSERVE.COM
Wed Apr 28 13:08:15 UTC 1999


For a thoroughgoing look at ALL US places with the element "Pointe" (or
with any element at all for that matter), look at the Geog Names Info
System from USGS.  I believe it is available on their website, though I
have not tried to use it there myself.  But it is an absolutely
comprehensive, authoritative, and regularly updated repository of all US
placenames, populated places (some 120,000!) and other -- more than a
million total.  It is a marvel.

As for the Detroit suburbs with "Pointe", there are 5 of them (Wayne

        Grosse Pointe
        GP Farms
        GP Park
        GP Shores
        GP Woods

The "original" was the first.  The name is from the French name for an
actual promontory that extends into Lake St. Clair at this place (just
north of Detroit; the lake narrows to the Detroit River, hence the name
"Detroit", also of French origin).

So although these are indeed very wealthy suburbs, their names are rooted
in the French heritage of the place.  I expect these names were selected in
part because they DO sound ritzy, but at least in these cases there is real
history to back up the naming.

Recently (in 1992), another Detroit suburb, long known as East Detroit
(near the GPs, but in Macomb County), changed its name to Eastpointe, which
is an example of the reaching out for something "classy" that others have
alluded to.  There was some derision directed at the city for their
deciding to do this.

Frank Abate
US Dictionaries
Oxford University Press

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