Parallel Wales
November 18, 2005 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Parallel Wales. They came from Wales, and settled in places called Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. They brought new contributions to the American fabric, but also old names that took on new meanings. Now, more than a hundred years later, what echoes remain? (via Projects)
posted by selfnoise (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
hmm.. I live in the Maryland area of Sandy Spring, Olney, Ashton which (still) is very Quaker -- family names like Brooke, Moore, Thomas, Canby -- wonder if they are Welsh Quaker.
posted by stbalbach at 10:21 AM on November 18, 2005

Nicely put together, selfnoise. I've been to every single town that nylon photographed, and have lived in 4 of them.
posted by iconomy at 10:32 AM on November 18, 2005

I really enjoyed this @MefiProjects. I'm glad you shared it with a larger audience, selfnoise.
posted by shoepal at 10:41 AM on November 18, 2005

posted by cass at 11:58 AM on November 18, 2005

I've been to Bangor, Wales and Bangor, Maine. I prefer the Welsh version.

We toured Powys County on our honeymoon
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:18 PM on November 18, 2005

Thank you for posting this selfnoise, don't know how I missed it on MefiProjects. Wonder if there are any plans to extend it via contributions?
posted by ceri richard at 12:57 PM on November 18, 2005


Ha ha. I did a total double take when I saw this on the front page, and there was genuine bewilderment for a couple of seconds. I did say I enjoyed visual incongruities, didn't I? Thanks for the kind words, and great work on digging up those other links - they're fascinating.

It was an amazing two weeks. I met some really wonderful people, and saw some beautiful, fascinating places. Before I set off, I had very little idea of what was going to happen - I just turned up in Pittsburgh with a couple of cameras, a map and a hire car booking (the airline lost my tripod, and consequently quite a few of the shots I took turned out to be slightly blurry, which I'm still kicking myself about) and pretty much winged it from there. It's pretty thrilling to arrive in so many new places and have no idea of what they're going to be like, no expectations other than a rough idea of size from looking at the blob on the map. Such a great sense of discovery.

I've always wanted to do an American road trip, but Route 66 is so passé, so it was nice to do something slightly unusual, see places well off the beaten track and combine the whole thing with a bit of cultural history and a link to home. And it really cracks me up to think of, say, Cardiff being a run-down one-street town. Of course, as I say on the site, it really helps if you're familiar with the Welsh places: then you can really appreciate how ridiculous it is to have a baseball field in the middle of Penllyn, or bear hunting in Blackwood.

What I'd like to do eventually (when I can afford some more film) is to juxtapose shots of the US places with their namesakes - on the left, the high street in Lampeter, PA. On the right, the high street in Lampeter, Ceredigion. Or the corresponding aisles of grocery shops. Or the police. Certainly, lots of people I spoke to were interested to see what the Welsh places were like. I hadn't thought about user submissions, Ceri - that's a good idea. It could turn into a global twin town project. I'm already thinking about my next trip, which is a logical extension of this one, and ties in nicely with the global twin town idea - all inspired by the fact that I grew up about 3 miles from a village in Derbyshire called Rhodesia. I'm not going to say too much more, because someone will inevitably steal the idea before I get round to doing it.
posted by nylon at 4:32 PM on November 18, 2005

Thanks for the kind words everyone, and special thanks to nylon for his excellent project.

As an aside, I think this link (from my FPP) would be interesting to explore in a further FPP at some point. (impact of nationality of white immigrants on slave names/culture)
posted by selfnoise at 6:22 PM on November 18, 2005

Very cool! I have some sense of this incongruity, because Australia (especially around Sydney) is peppered with English place names, and it's very weird to come across such familiar names. But having never been to England, I wonder how it will be when I finally see the original Hyde park etc. If you plan to extend this project, I think photos of both places would be really cool. Or even oddly distorted maps.
posted by dhruva at 7:25 PM on November 18, 2005

Ironically, many of the Welsh town names around and outside of Philadelphia were named by an American railroad man who had bought up properties along rail lines, and had little or nothing to do with the sizable Welsh immigrant population mining the coal seams of Scranton and NE Pennsylvania.
posted by Rothko at 2:21 PM on November 19, 2005

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