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Help me save 'Mount Zion'

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Frank Schultz
March 14, 2012

Point at your head and say the abbreviation for mountain.

That was a joke when I was a kid. Perhaps it’s still making the rounds. It relies on the fact that just about everybody knows that the abbreviation for mountain -- or mount -- is Mt.

So maybe I am just being stubborn when I insist that when it comes to names of places such as Janesville’s Mount Zion Avenue or the Mount Zion United Methodist Church -- not to mention Mount Zion, Wis., or the original Mount Zion -- “mount” should not be abbreviated.

I remember somewhere, sometime in the past century that I was taught that “Mt.” should not be used for place names.

Now the issue has come up here at the Gazette. A fellow editor wants to abbreviate it in all cases. I am resisting. We are both on the Gazette’s newly formed Style Council, which is tasked with coming to agreement about such things. Having a consistent style is important to newspapers.

My fellow editor has checked maps, all of which say “Mt. Zion Avenue.” She has talked to someone at City Hall who thinks “Mt.” is just fine.

I checked with the National Geographic Style Manual, which says “Fort” and “Mount” in place names are to be spelled out.

Is this important? Does anyone really care whether we print “Mount Zion Avenue” or “Mt. Zion Avenue?”



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