Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Lexington sister city?

A few years ago, when I was on the Board of Directors for Uptown Lexington, a thought occurred to me that Lexington — our Lexington — should have a sister city. Why not?

This thought bubbled up to the surface after one of my many jaunts to Gettysburg, Pa., where I discovered that Gettysburg has two sister cities: one of them is Gettysburg, South Dakota, and the other is Leon, Nicaragua. (This kind of makes me wonder if "Leon" is Spanish for "Gettysburg").

Neither city, I suspect, is big into the Civil War, but apparently that doesn't matter.

I mentioned the sister city concept to another Uptown board member, who thought it was interesting and encouraged me to look deeper into the idea.

So I did some Google research. The first thing I had to do, I figured, was to see if there was a Lexington, England. Sister cities, I presumed with a hint of Wehrle logic, shared identical names.

But that's not necessarily so.

I forget the exact road of research that I traveled, but I somehow found the Massachusetts Historical Society Register, or something like that, and it took me to an ancient page in the book that mentioned that the naming of Lexington, Mass., dated back to some 17th century squire who had immigrated from Laxton, England, if I recall correctly. (Read this first, under "History").

OK, so I googled Laxton, England, and, presto, I more or less hit paydirt. Apparently a derivative of Laxton is Laxintone, which apparently is derived from Leaxingtūn. (See for yourself here). So this is starting to make perfect sense to me.

Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that Laxton is in the county of Nottinghamshire, which is where the legend of some guy named Robin Hood took shape. That's as good an excuse to become a sister city as any, I suspect.

The next step to becoming a sister city is to actually find out how to become one. There is a formal program called Sister Cities International, and it looks as though annual membership dues for a town the size of our Lexington is nominal — $360 (See here).

I don't know how big Laxton is. It sounds like it's a small village, and the seat of government apparently is in Newark, Nottinghamshire.

But imagine some of the possibilities if the two towns became sister cities. City officials could go on goodwill trans-Atlantic junkets to repair any diplomatic damage caused by the Revolutionary War; we could introduce Laxton-style barbecue to the world and hold the Laxton Barbecue Festival to great fanfare. We could even learn to speak each other's language.

Or not.

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