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A Tale of Two Towns, a Landslide, and a Disputed Origin

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Anthony in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is suspicious of a story about the origin of the phrase win by landslide. According to local lore, the Wyoming towns of Jackson and Kelly competed to become the county seat of Teton County. In 1927, a massive landslide dammed the Gros Ventre River, creating a lake. That dam later broke and wiped the town of Kelly off the map, supposedly leading people to say that Kelly lost by a landslide. That’s not the origin of the phrase, though. The phrase won by a landslide denoting a resounding political victory appears decades earlier in the 1850s. There’s an even earlier term for this geological phenomenon, landslip, which goes back to the early 1600s. In the segment Grant mistakenly mentions the Wyoming Historical Society as a place to go for more information. Instead, he should have mentioned the Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum. This is part of a complete episode.

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