Sunday, March 5, 2017

What Presque Isle really means

After posting about two Lighthouses of the Week in Presque Isle, Pennsylvania and Presque Isle, Michigan, I wondered about the derivation of Presque Isle.   Was it someplace in France that was being commemorated by the Voyageurs on the Great Lakes?  Was it Samuel Champlain's favorite vacation spot?   Did Pere Marquette remember a church on an idyllic island off the coast of France?'

Uh, no. It's much simpler than that.  Presque Isle comes from the French language, presqu'île, meaning peninsula.  So us unsophersticated Americans turned peninsulas into islands

Now it all makes sense!  Because Presque Isle, PA is a great example of a peninsula, and Presque Isle, MI, is a really unusually-shaped peninsula.   Not sure about Presque Isle, Maine, because even though it's by a river, it's not on any geographic formation remotely resembling a peninsula.  But according to Wikipedia, it is: "... the courses of the Aroostook River and Presque Isle Stream form a peninsula."  Well, in my opinion that's a stretch, but we'll have to let them have their name.

Add that to your trivia bank.

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