Colorado Book Cliffs: One Word or Two?
I asked our Facebook fans whether the proper way use of the word (or words) was Book Cliff or Bookcliff. The response was overwhelmingly one-sided.
Before I share the popular opinion, I should explain why I asked the question. It started with a story we published on the website about the Little Book Cliff Railway.
Out of curiosity, I asked our editor why Bookcliff was two words. His answer was that according to sources used to research the story, the railway is Little Book Cliff.
Wikipedia defines the Book Cliffs (two words) as
A series of desert mountains and cliffs in western Colorado and eastern Utah, in the western United States. They are so named because the cliffs of Cretaceous sandstone that cap many of the south-facing buttes appear similar to a shelf of books."
To add confusion, the Grand Junction street named after and that runs along the old railway right-of-way is Little Bookcliff Drive (one word) and another street is named Bookcliff Avenue.
Then, there's the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area. But wait, every business and even a middle school in and around Grand Junction I could find spells it Bookcliff.
With some help from Google we graphed the use both Book Cliff and Bookcliff and here's what we learned.
The Use of Book Cliff from 1800 to 2008
The Use of Bookcliff from 1800 to 2008
From a purely academic standpoint, if you're referring to the mountains north of Grand Junction or anything associated with them it's Book Cliffs. On the other hand, our Facebook fans and the vast majority of people living in Grand Junction say it's: