Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

The Suburban Name Game

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Do you know the difference between Oak Park, Oak Forest, Forest Park and Park Forest? I’m not sure I do, and I’m not sure it matters. I can tell by their names that they’re suburbs, and that’s all that matters.

    Did you know there’s not a mountain in Mount Prospect, a hill in Vernon Hills, or a spring in Willow Springs? It doesn’t matter, because their names are not meant to evoke natural features, but that ineffable quality known as suburbia.
    If you’ve decided to found a suburb, but don’t know what to call it, Ward Room is here to help. We’ve compiled two lists of common suburban names that can be put together in just about any combination. Simply roll two six-sided dice for each list.
    1. Oak
    2. Hickory
    3. Lincoln
    4. Park
    5. Elm
    6. Barrington
    7. River
    8. Lake
    9. Mount
    10. Chicago
    11. Glen
    12. Willow
    1. Park
    2. Heights
    3. Hills
    4. Lawn
    5. Barrington
    6. Brook
    7. Wood
    8. Forest
    9. Ridge
    10. Prairie
    11. Crest
    12. Lake
    For example, if you roll a 5 and an 11, your suburb will be named “Elm Crest.” If you roll a 6 and a 9, it’s “Barrington Ridge.” An 9 and a 6, and it’s “Mountbrook.” A 9 and a 10 gives you “Mount Prairie.” Those aren’t the names of actual Chicago suburbs -- but no one will be able to tell the difference.