At its most rudimentary, a landing is simply any convenient, safe place to come ashore on a river, lake, or ocean. As such useful places were developed, the word also came to incorporate the proximate docking and staging areas for cargo or passengers. From the town of Landing, New Jersey, near the southern end of Lake Hopatcong, to Jim Cullum’s Landing, a jazz club on the San Antonio River, landings are associated with good facilities and transfer areas on bodies of water. Because they were naturally strategic sites, landings established for commercial water traffic sometimes grew into full-fledged communities. An example is Moss Landing in California, a town that once flourished as a whaling station and survives as a small fishing community on Monterey Bay. Today, new landings are being proposed for sites along the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers as one tool to help reclaim the rivers and the riverfronts of the old steel communities of southwestern Pennsylvania. In the lexicon of marine fisheries, landing is the word for catches of fish brought ashore, in aggregate. Finally, landing is also a logging term, referring to the flattened-out place on a mountain where loggers pile recently cut trees until they are ready for transport to a sawmill.

Emily Hiestand