The great name debate: Southside vs. South Richmond
👋 Karri here, riling up residents south of the river as I try to nail down the proper name for the part of the city on the southern side of the James.
What's happening: My co-author Ned Oliver and I started using South Richmond to describe the part of the city south of the James, as opposed to Southside, a term I thought I preferred and have also occasionally used.
Reader Robert J. was not having it, writing, "'South Richmond' is not a thing. The historically correct moniker is 'Southside,' which, coupled with Northside and the East and West Ends, keeps nomenclature balance between the four regions outside the city center."
- Robert followed up with some strong sources, including multiple Wikipedia references.
- And I decided to turn it over to readers.
The case for Southside: Ironically, Northside — the undisputed name for the part of the city north of the city center — is the strongest case I've seen for Southside, and the one many readers make.
- "Southside is definitely the term, since it fits with the other directionally themed names: Northside, East End and West End! You can't break up the set with South Richmond. It's against the law, probably," writes Reader Erin.
The case for South Richmond: "I think Southside is more a region than a part of the city. South Richmond is the part of the city that is south of the river," writes reader Mary Beth L.
- Indeed. Those Wikipedia entries define Southside as region, including as all of the city south of the river — and all of Chesterfield County. And some Chesterfield readers agree, tweeting that Southside includes them, plus city residents.
The verdict: Readers overwhelmingly said they prefer Southside to any other term for the southernmost part of Richmond, which technically is the largest part of the city in square footage.
Yes, but: As a 15-year resident of the south of Richmond, I say it's a lot of (wonderful) things, but it absolutely ain't Chesterfield. And that makes me Team South Richmond.
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