I was asked an interesting question the other day that I didn’t have an interesting answer for, but I said I would ask others and find out. Those “others” mean each of you. 

The question was, why do people so often, when referencing the town of Guthrie Center, simply call it “Guthrie”?

As far as I can tell, there are six cities in Iowa with the word “Center” in their name. And, as far as I can tell, none of them simply go by the first word, except Guthrie. 

I don’t hear people refer to Dallas Center as “Dallas,” even though it is also in a county of the same name. 

The same thing can be said for Sioux Center, which sits in Sioux County. Heading up to “Sioux”? That doesn’t even sound right. 

I know a number of people from Buffalo Center, but none of them, or anyone else I know, call it “Buffalo.” 

If you said you were traveling to “Grundy,” many would envision the supervillain Solomon Grundy rather than the town of Grundy Center.

And, finally, if you were going to “State,” most Iowans would assume you were a high-school athlete who qualified for the state tournament. Would anyone think you were referencing the town of State Center? I don’t think so. 

So why only “Guthrie”? I have asked many people this. It’s a good question that doesn’t seem to have a good answer. But, like many things in life, maybe it doesn’t need an answer. It just is.

See you in Guthrie. 

Shane Goodman
Big Green Umbrella Media
P.O. Box 38, 111 E. Main St.
Panora, Iowa 50215