Here’s How We Say Certain Things in Owensboro, Kentucky
Longtime Owensboroans have a sort of shorthand when it comes to how we refer to certain places and things that newcomers might not immediately understand.
So maybe this can be regarded as an "Owensboro primer." And since I drive by one of the topics in question every single day, I'll start with it. It is my alma mater, where I was immersed (and still am) in Panther Pride.
DAVIESS COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
Daviess County High School still looks pretty much like it did when it opened in 1959. But hardly anyone who's lived in Owensboro or Daviess County long enough calls it "Daviess County High School." If I'm asked where I graduated, like so many, I say "county." "I went to county." "I go to county." "Oh, they go to county."
OWENSBORO HIGH SCHOOL
But DCHS isn't the only school with an abbreviated nickname. I grew up surrounded by friends who attended Owensboro High School and NEVER called it that. I've either heard it referred to as "OHS" or "Senior High." The latter nickname likely comes from the fact that Owensboro High School used to be divided between two buildings. The main campus on Frederica (and we'll get to that later) was once just for juniors and seniors--it was called the "11-12 center." The other campus--which is now part of Owensboro Middle School--was for freshmen and sophomores and was referred to as the "9-10 center."
As for Apollo High School, I don't think it has another name. We just call it Apollo.
Since I've mentioned it, let's tackle what is arguably the busiest street in Owensboro--although, Highway 54 could be very close to overtaking it. Yes, I'm talking about Frederica Street. When I was growing up, everyone I knew called it "Fredicka," eliminating the third syllable altogether. I'm back to using all the syllables, but plenty of folks still use the "old way."
What about the bypass? Well, it is officially called U.S. Highway 60 or U.S. Highway 60/231, beginning at the 231 interchange. If you're new in town or just passing through, Google has told you to call it 60 or 231. Those of us who have been here a long time still--and probably always will--call it "the bypass."
Since we're "on" the bypass, let's talk about that four-lane limited access highway that goes to Bowling Green. It began as the Green River Parkway, but once it changed to the William Natcher Parkway, we simply called it "the Natcher." Thing is, we haven't been AS quick to adopt its newest name in casual conversation.
It officially became Interstate 165 in 2019, but most everyone still calls it "the Natcher." Even our local news stations still say "the Natcher," if that highway is part of a news story.
THE BLUE BRIDGE
Speaking of newscasts, have you ever heard any of our local Evansville affiliates mention the "Glover Cary Bridge?" They have, but only IF the story is about the bridge's official name. Otherwise, they ALWAYS say "the Blue Bridge." WE always say "the Blue Bridge." We thank Congressman Cary for his service back in the day and it is officially his namesake. But we will always call it the Blue Bridge.
"The Natcher," "the bypass," "county," "OHS," "senior high," "Fredicka," "the Blue Bridge." I call it Owensboro shorthand.
What's in a name, anyway?