April 30, 2001
|Pikes Peak postcard from the 1930s|
There are nearly two dozen places in the United States that are officially named Devils Punchbowl. You will not, however, find a single apostrophe in any of those names. Although placenamers may have thought the devil possessed these places, the United States Board on Geographic Names has determined otherwise. Since 1890, the Board on Geographic Names has discouraged the possessiveness of places by not allowing the genitive apostrophe and the “s”. In fact, the Board has actually removed the apostrophe from geographic names for natural features although they allowed the “s” to remain. Five natural features have been able to keep their apostrophe thanks to official decisions of the Board: Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, Ike’s Point in New Jersey, John E’s Pond in Rhode Island, Carlos Elmer’s Joshua View in Arizona, and Clark’s Mountain in Oregon.