Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

1 Phrase Brings Jacksonville to Mind

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

1 Phrase Brings Jacksonville to Mind

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, Times-Union columnist

Over the weekend, the American Dialect Society named its word of the year for 2002.

Like many previous words of the year, "weapons of mass destruction," an old phrase that gained new currency, is actually a phrase of the year.

Naming a word of the year has been an annual exercise since 1990. Not every word of the year survives as part of the common language -- heard anyone use 1990's "Bushlips" lately? -- but some, like "9/11," "cyber," "web" and "Y2K" are so useful it's hard to imagine the language without them.

Obviously, a word of the year should be instantly recognizable to people across America. Which is why, with one exception, I don't think there is a Jacksonville-specific word that could have qualified as a national "word of the year."

On the other hand, there are many words or phrases that have gained currency, at least for a while, on the First Coast, including "First Coast."

Introduced in 1983, First Coast became an instantly recognizable label for the whole Northeast Florida area. It quickly replaced an earlier phrase, "Florida's Crown."

While the First Coast includes several cities, such as St. Augustine, also known as the "Ancient City," the area's dominant city is Jacksonville, which has gone by a number of nicknames since Cowford became Jacksonville in 1822. In the first half of the 20th century, it was known as both the "Queen City" and the "Gateway City." Then, during the campaign in the mid-1960s for "consolidation," the merger of the city and county governments, Jacksonville became the "Bold New City of the South."

Bold New City still gets used a lot, often ironically, but "River City" also pops up frequently, as in Mayor Ed Austin's 1993 plan for civic improvement, the "River City Renaissance." More recently, of course, there was Mayor John Delaney's "Better Jacksonville Plan. …

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