Looks can be deceiving

By RUSS HATTER Asst. Curator Capital City Museum Published:

Is it capital (al) or capitol (ol)? That is the question.

Recently I have been asked which is correct, especially relative to Capital Avenue. Simply speaking, the spelling is to be used as capital when referring to a city and the spelling of capitol should be used in reference to a building in which a state or national legislature meets, such as the Capitol building in Washington, D. C. in which the Congress meets.

Frankfort is the capital of Kentucky and the Capitol building is located on Capital Avenue. You cant rely on signs youve seen or even documents youve read. People just seem to get this wrong more often than they get it right.

Mero Street in Frankfort is a perfect example. Frankforts founder James Wilkinson named the street in 1786 for the Spanish governor of New Orleans Esteban Miro, and yet we find it spelled incorrectly Mero after all these years.

Another example is the long-ago Capitol Hotel and Capitol Theatre. Eventually the hotel reverted to the correct spelling but the theatre never did.

Current Reading

Slavery Times in Kentucky by J. Winston Coleman, Jr., Henry Clays Defense of Aaron Burr in 1806 by Willard Rouse Jillson, Bayless Hardins Frankfort Notes Volumes 5 and 6, and I finally finished Doris Kearns Goodwins Team of Rivals The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

The Capital City Museum appreciates receiving Frankfort family materials and photos. Not only do they put a face on our history but also they enable us to unlock some of those mystifying moments of our past. Over the years there have been many in Frankfort who have collected stories and written about their families and the early times of Kentuckys capital city.

If you have knowledge of any papers or writings that have been stashed away, please bring them to light and let us share them with the community. You can call me at (502) 803-1808 or email me at russh@mis.net.

The museum is located at 325 Ann St. and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. We are handicap accessible and there is no admission charge. We look forward to your visit.

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