Just Another Guy with Opinions

Repeat That Name Again

Posted by shadmia on July 28, 2009

The Lake

Like the folks in Wisconsin who had to correct an embarrassing sign that was misspelled; the people of Webster, Massachusetts have a similar problem. They discovered that some road signs (like the one above) referring to Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg have spelling mistakes in them.

The 45-letter name for this body of water, is often cited as the longest place name in the United States and one of the longest in the world.

This lake has several alternative names. Lake Chaubunagungamaug is the name of the lake as recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior, however, many area residents, as well as the official website of the town of Webster, consider the longer version correct.

After investigating  hundreds of resources and Internet searches, it was determined that the 45-letter Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg was the correct spelling, and that the signs saying ‘Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaoggagoggchaubunaguhgamaugg‘ were inaccurate (inserting an ‘o’ for a ‘u’ at position 20, and an ‘h’ for an ‘n’ at position 38.)

Richard D. Cazeault, president of the nonprofit Webster Lake Association, said he feels bad the signs are wrong, but given the bad economy, he’s simply glad signs were provided. Exactly how to spell the name has been debated, according to Mr. Cazeault.

“I had a guy do some research on this four or five years ago,” Mr. Cazeault said

During the investigation a number of alternative spellings were found. A 49-letter version –  Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg – was discovered on many of the original signs. This was the second most popular spelling.

The 45-letter version was found in 949 articles and references such as an encyclopedia, Indian Ranch,, and others. However, a more than 100-year-old survey map uses one less g at the end of the name, Mr. Cazeault said.

The 49-letter version was found in 382 articles. All other spellings were found in fewer than 100 sources, he said.

The local Chamber of Commerce will now attempt to find out who painted the signs in the first place, and get them to correct them.

State Rep. Paul J. Kujawski, D-Webster, said the original signs were damaged from wear and tear years ago, and he was involved with having them replaced. Incorrect information may have been given to the vendor, but he said he wasn’t sure.

Echoing Ms. Houbre, director of chamber services, he said, “We can contact the people who were involved with it and see what we can do.”

Now that we have determined the correct spelling of the name, there is only one thing left to find out – How does one pronounce that name?

The locals have a better idea. They simply call it Webster Lake.

Bookmark and Share
Follow me on Twitter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: