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What's in a name like Bath? — Curt Yeomans

Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.

Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.

There is something about a name that tells you a lot about a place.

When I think of Social Circle, in Walton County, I think of a small town where everybody probably knows each other.

Just the names Augusta and Louisville evoke images of a laid back, genteel place — even if you know absolutely nothing about horse racing or the game of golf.

Even the rest of Mississippi looks at the name of D’Lo, Miss., shakes its head and says, “Da-ung raidnicks caint spake Angleash!”

So, what does a person learn from an English town named Bath? Are the residents really clean in the town of Bath? Are they in dire need of a bath? Do they carry rubber ducks with them around town?

If ever there was an odd name for a town — even odder than Talking Rock and Willacoochee — Bath could make a good run at the title. You look at the name and you think to yourself, “They named the town after something dirty people need?”

Let’s face it, Bath is not exactly a conventional name for a place where people live.

Heck, I’ll bet even the people of Hell, Mich., probably look at Bath and say “What the ...?!?”

Meanwhile, the folks from Toad Suck, Ark., are looking at each other and saying, “Eh, we guess it could be worse.”

But, it’s the people from Crapo, Md., who are on the mountaintop screaming, “It could definitely be worse!”

But Bath may have the simplest of reasons behind its name. You see, it’s main attraction is the old Roman Baths in the middle of the town and the natural warm springs that fed the baths in ancient times are still turning out hot water. In fact, the springs are why the town was founded by the Romans sometime around the year 60 AD, although they called it Aquae Sulis, which means The Waters of Sulis.

It was founded to be a spa and public bathing area. The Romans even built a temple to go with the baths.

Could the people who later moved to the area in subsequent centuries have picked a better thing to rename the town after? Probably.

Would it stick out as easily in a person’s memory? Probably not.

Actually, I have to say Bath is a very nice place to visit. I didn’t get much time there because this was the same day that I also visited Stonehenge and Windsor, but I did like what I saw.

That Baths are very interesting, but then again I’m very much into ancient Roman history so I would find that kind of stuff interesting. They are actually well preserved. Many of the statues that overlooked the main bathing pool are still there and largely intact, but they really don’t like people sticking their feet in the pool. It takes a couple of hours to make it through the whole place.

Naturally, the gift shop at the Roman Baths sells bath salts.

I mean, what else would you expect a former spa-turned-tourist attraction to sell?

Bath Abbey is across the plaza from the Roman Baths, and it’s nice too, although I didn’t go in and see much of it. The exterior Georgian architecture is gorgeous, however.

One of the more interesting features of Bath, though, is the River Avon which runs through town. Right where the river runs through the middle of Bath, there is an interesting series of cascading, curved steps the river falls down. To me, it’s like there is a giant bathtub in the middle of Bath.

Maybe that’s a new reason to justify the name Bath.

Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.