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Old 10-16-2010, 05:21 AM
 
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Anyone know? It seems to be used from New Castle and Butler to Pittsburgh all the way over to Chambersburg and Gettysburg. The only other place I've seen it used with the same meaning is Northern Ireland. Is it Gaelic?
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:26 AM
 
Location: NW Penna.
1,758 posts, read 3,181,348 times
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Possibly, because much of the area was originally settled by Germans and Scotch-Irish.

Or, maybe the "square" wasn't square, and was instead where streets converged, like spokes? Mercer, PA and Charleston, WV each have "diamond" associated with their town centers, like "Diamond St." or "on the Diamond." I know with Charleston, the streets were a hodgepodge that converged downtown where the old 19th Century capitol was situated (referred to as The Diamond before the department store was named that), and some streets dead-ended there instead of running 'cross town. They opened then up after that capital bldg burned and the new one was built in the East End. Again, lots of Scotch-Irish and English and not many Catholics settled Charleston. Mercer was Western Reserve for Connecticut, as was the Mahoning Valley and Youngstown.

Last edited by SorryIMovedBack; 10-16-2010 at 09:41 AM.. Reason: d*** cat's lying on keyboard again
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Old 10-16-2010, 11:49 AM
 
Location: wilkes-barre
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The city of Wilkes-Barre is known as "the Diamond City" because of it's town square. wilkes barre skyline

Last edited by W-B proud; 10-16-2010 at 11:57 AM..
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Hooterville PA
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St Mary's PA also has a diamond in the middle of the town.

You have to travel around it to go north, south, east or west.

It was a center focal point of the whole town 150 years ago.

The hard part is when the old buildings stands and there is no room to move back the sidewalks and make the streets bigger.
When streets were designed for horse travel and not car parking.

Most towns usually puts up some sort of memorial in the middle of the diamond for the town founders or the local veterans who lost their lives fighting in the wars.
Its a way to honor our dead hero's.
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Old 10-16-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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That's a new one for me, and I grew up outside of Erie and went to college/lived in Pittsburgh for five years. Learn something new every day!
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:49 PM
 
Location: NW Penna.
1,758 posts, read 3,181,348 times
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Quote:
3. A figure with four equal sides forming two inner obtuse angles and two inner acute angles; a rhombus or lozenge
from diamond - definition of diamond by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.. Webster's and another dictionary that I have here also give that definition.

So, perhaps it is just a catch-all for a town center that is a rectangle or rhombus shape, or otherwise is geometric but not an actual square with sides of equal lengths.

Or, since there is a diamond interchange in road building today, maybe "diamond" back then meant a particular pattern of streets and intersections to route road traffic around some rectangular or rhomboid plot of land, as opposed to a traffic circle.

I give up, for now. Maybe I'll ask PennDot, lol. It's an interesting question, jimmyev.

Last edited by SorryIMovedBack; 10-16-2010 at 06:58 PM..
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Hooterville PA
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The Diamonds were built pre Penn Dot.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think the one in St Mary's was built about 150 years ago.


Maybe it was some sort of religious type thing.


Laws of the Indies - PlanningWiki (http://planningwiki.cyburbia.org/Laws_of_the_Indies - broken link)
Laws of the Indies -
(112.) The main plaza is to be the starting point for the town; if the town is situated on the sea coast, it should be placed at the landing place of the port, but inland it should be at the center of the town. The plaza should be square or rectangular, in which case it should have at least one and a half its width for length inasmuch as this shape is best for fiestas in which horses are used and for any other fiestas that should be held.


Lets say that the townspeople needed some type of compass to show them which way was north, south, east and west of that location. They could take a compass and lay out the diamond and any person in town could look at the diamond and would know which direction to travel in - to get to the next town. Kind of like a permanent land mark.
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Old 10-18-2010, 04:35 PM
 
Location: wilkes-barre
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WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA, SKYLINE AND CITY PICTURES pictures from cityscapes photos on webshots
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Old 10-18-2010, 04:39 PM
 
Location: wilkes-barre
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Wilkes-Barre skyline photo tour
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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It seems to me that center-of-town "diamonds" tend to be in western PA and "squares" tend to be in eastern PA, both regardless of their actual shape.

In New England the center-of-town space is a "Green", usually somewhat larger and less regularly shaped than a PA "square" or "diamond", and this term bleeds through upstate NY and into Wellsboro, PA.
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