Aurora Pvblic Library?

As you walk up the steps to the Aurora Public Library, have you ever looked above the door?

Aurora Public Library 414 Second Street Aurora Indiana

Does anything seem odd about the engraving in the cement at the top of the door?

Aurora Public Library

Lets take an even closer look.

Aurora Public Library

It seems as though the engraver misspelled “Public.”  But did he?

Aurora Public Library

I have walked through those doors many times over the past 18 years that I have lived in the community.  I have never paid much attention to the lettering style or the odd misspelling.  It was only when a gentleman visiting our community from out of town pointed it out to me that I noticed it.  He asked me “Is there a reason that they used a v instead of a u in the word Public on the building?”  This was a new question for me.  I asked a colleague who also had no idea of the answer.  I searched through the history we know about the building.  The lettering was not mentioned.  So this sent me off on a google search of just why this seemed to be misspelled.

This is what I learned: 

It was very common in public buildings erected during the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century to use the Latin alphabet and  lettering style.

This was especially true of buildings that had Roman features.  

The Latin alphabet only has 23 letters.  

In the Latin alphabet U and V are used interchangeably.

 

It’s great to learn something new!