In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, a young boy was describing the place of blacksmith’s shop, saying:

Oh, a couple of miles or so; down at the Cross Roads.

Then he said later in another passage:

We’ll keep it up until we come in sight of the Corners, then we’ll slow down to a walk. There’s sure to be a lot of fellows at the blacksmith’s shop, so we’ll come in on them easy like.

Was it common in the late 19th century to write normal places, like "cross roads" and "corners" in capital letters?

  • 1
    Which country is this set in? Might make a lot of difference, as presumably different countries would have different customs especially in the late 19th century. It's an English-speaking country at least, right?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 7:27
  • In a Canadian rural township. @Randal'Thor Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


I don't know about this specific book, but they could simply be actual place names.

For instance: Cross Roads, Pennsylvania.

And an 1861 NYT news article reports that "The skirmish took place about one mile in advance of the Cross Roads, just this side of the railroad", referring to a place properly known as "Ball's Cross Roads".

Similarly, "The Corners" could be another small settlement, or perhaps the name of a tavern.


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