Carolina Curious: What Do You Call Residents Of Your City?
In the grand scheme of things, this question isn’t the most pressing. But it comes up in places all across North Carolina.
Listener Crystal Harris brought it to our attention. She wanted to know what you call the residents of different cities in the Triad.
It's a great question! And in our latest installment of Carolina Curious, we found that the answers are all over the map.
In fact, we got in touch with a lot of experts for this story, and were frankly surprised to see that only one had a solid answer.
Teresa Loflin with the High Point Museum knew exactly what to call residents in The Furniture Capital of the World.
“We call ourselves 'High Pointers,'” she said confidently.
Turns out, Loflin's assuredness is unusual when it comes to this issue. After all, there’s so much local pride in North Carolina, we figured everyone would have a name (or two) locked in by now.
We asked Loflin if there were any other monikers we should know about.
“As far as I know, that’s the only one that’s been used since the city was founded back in 1859,” she says.
All right then! Take pride, High Pointers; Loflin has you covered.
With that said, let’s travel northwest to a trickier place.
Why is it tricky? Well, this place is a fusion of two former cities. So, are you a Winstonian? A Salemite? We went to Fam Brownlee, a historian at the North Carolina Room in the Forsyth County Library, to find out.
“I don’t think there’s an answer to the question," he said. "I think different people would approach the question in different ways. I don’t like Winston-Salemite."
But Brownlee proposed a novel alternative, a name that plays on that geographical fusion we're talking about: Twin Citizen.
“It deals with one of our nicknames, and at the same time, I like the word 'citizen' there," he said. "It says this is a person who’s a citizen of the Twin City.”
It's a product of Brownlee’s imagination, but it's catchy! Maybe it'll start making the rounds.
Now here’s a fun one. When we asked the City of Greensboro this question about what they call themselves, it seemed like there could be tons of options. And there are. But nobody knew for certain. There’s just not a definitive answer.
So they put out a poll on the official Greensboro Twitter account to find out what residents thought. Here's the final count:
We have no official name for Greensboro residents. What do y’all call yourselves?— City of Greensboro (@greensborocity) May 22, 2018
There’s no word on whether "Greensborians" will actually become the official designation, but hey, not half bad.
The final stop on our journey is in the mountains, a place where we were just certain there was fun to be had with a nickname.
Ah, Boone. Beautiful scenery, a great school, and for our purposes, a really great name. I mean, come on. Boonies? Booners? Boonites? Surely a good answer was just a phone call away.
To find out if we were anywhere near the right track, we went straight to the top to Mayor Rennie Brantz. We figured it also helped our cause that he was once a history professor at Appalachian State University.
Brantz points out that the App State mascot is the Mountaineers. And the local high school is the Pioneers. So how about it, Mr. Mayor, what do you call folks from Boone?
“I called around a little bit after you raised that question with me and I couldn’t find anyone who had a name that had been applied earlier on,” Brantz says. “Some of the people I talked to said we should have a contest now!”
Another dead end, although the contest sounds like a great idea.
We know that people will disagree with some of these suggestions. After all, the people are what make a city, and the local vernacular can change, neighborhood to neighborhood.
But that's also why this question has legs. People are proud of where they live and where they come from, and knowing what people from your neck of the woods are called just adds to that sense that we’re all in this together.
Whatever hometown monikers we have – or don’t – at least we have this: we’re all North Carolinians, and that counts for an awful lot.