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Monday, January 11, 2016

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS THAT?!

When on road trips, I find myself fascinated with the odd names fastened to towns we pass through. Every state has them. I expect things like family names, Native American tribal names and words, trees and rivers, but some of the names are rather inventive—and leave me curious about the origin.

In Illinois, there’s Crab Orchard, named for the crab apple trees that abound in the area; Assumption; Justice and Bannockburn—so named by the Scotsman who created the master plan for the town and built the first country estate there.
 
Living in Tennessee I found the towns of Bean Station and Mousetail Landing--a moniker that is thought to come from the time of the Civil War when a tannery located at a landing on the Tennessee River caught fire and the unusually large infestation of mice fled in the direction of the river, giving the landing its name. 

Texas is a goldmine of oddball names—no disrespect to the founders! China, Comfort, Early, Humble, Groom, Rule, Spur… you get the idea.

On a recent road trip here is Missouri I ran across the towns of Peculiar, Knob Noster, Noel and Racket. There used to be a Zebra, Missouri (now called Osage Beach), so named because of the color striations in the rocks at the river landing there.

There’s also Bucksaw, Doe Run, Pilot Knob, Agency, and my personal favorite, Tightwad—where the bank has gone out of business.

How about you? Do you find the names of towns interesting, or just speed through on your way to somewhere else? Do you have a favorite or three? Share them with us, please.

And, always remember, the road through Fair Play leads to Success... at least in Missouri.


19 comments:

  1. My favorites in Idaho are Bliss, Bone, Crouch, Dingle, Dickshooter (where Much Ado About Madams is set), Fish Haven, Gay, Gross, Hope, Mace, Magic City, Ozone, Riddle, Santa, Slickpoo, and Squirrel. I have no idea how these towns got their names. The founders all had a sense of humor, I guess.

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    1. It's a good exercise for the imagination to wonder, though, isn't it?

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  2. Tracy, you left out Cut and Shoot and Muleshoe in Texas. :-D

    Where do people get these names? You have to wonder what they were thinking.

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  3. Some California city names that tickle my fancy: Fresno just south of me (=hot...and it is), Oxnard, Ripon, Hercules, Jurupa Valley, Claremont (named after my uncle), Lemon Grove (where my father built our first house), Orange (where I graduated from high school)...(do you see a pattern here?), Alturas, Weed, Sand City, (by the ocean),the three Te cities...Tehachapi, Tehama and Temecula, three gold rush cities...Coarsegold, Angels Camp and Diamond Bar. The history of each is no doubt a blog post in and of itself.....Robyn Echols writing as Zina Abbott

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    1. Good ones, Robyn. I especially like Coarsegold!

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  4. Some California city names that tickle my fancy: Fresno just south of me (=hot...and it is), Oxnard, Ripon, Hercules, Jurupa Valley, Claremont (named after my uncle), Lemon Grove (where my father built our first house), Orange (where I graduated from high school)...(do you see a pattern here?), Alturas, Weed, Sand City, (by the ocean),the three Te cities...Tehachapi, Tehama and Temecula, three gold rush cities...Coarsegold, Angels Camp and Diamond Bar. The history of each is no doubt a blog post in and of itself.....Robyn Echols writing as Zina Abbott

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  5. Arizona loves double names -- Table Mesa Rd. (it's just table table), Picacho Peak (peak peak). Around here, if it sounds good then double it.

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    1. Just in case you don't speak Spanish... lol

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  6. I've always been fond of Buckskin Joes' ( the orinal town just the other side of Leadville), Oro City, Hardscrabble,Pickewire,Bogsville, etc. all in Colorado. I'll stop there for now. Enjoyed this journey through the states, and I didn't even have to leave my house. Doris McCraw/Angela Raines-author

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  7. Tracy, we have a ton of names that are of Indian derivation here in Oklahoma--even the name Oklahoma is taken from the Choctaw "Okla humma", meaning "red people".

    We always get a kick out of a new newscaster or weatherman on our local stations as they struggle through pronunciations. Wetumka, Wewoka, Konawa...Weleetka, which means "running water" in Creek; Tahlequah, which is the capital of the Cherokee Nation; Pawhuska, which is the capital of the Osage Nation and was named after an Osage chief; Okmulgee, which is the capital of the Muscogee/Creek nation; Okemah, which is the hometown of the great American folksinger/songwriter Woody Guthrie;then we have Frogville, Bushyhead, Slapout, Lookeba, Pink, (and of course) Blue. Bowlegs, named for Chief Billy Bowlegs. Talihina, meaning "hard (or steel) road", where the railroad came through--that's either Cherokee or Choctaw, can't remember which. I'm sure every state has a ton of very different names--I collect 'em too! Great post!

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    1. Every time we visit Oklahoma, I work at the names. Of course, I have no idea if I'm saying them right, but they sound right to me. lol

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  8. Oh boy, good topic! I could write a book about growing up amongst such a plethora of, well, rather embarrassing town names. My home county is famous for the small rural town of "Intercourse"...named for the intersecting of four roads within the town in an era where the word was innocent. But, pair it with the other towns just after it, Blue Ball, Paradise, Cross Keys, Bird-In-Hand, and Virginville, and you truly dread out-of-towners asking for directions. I wish I had five bucks for every time I had someone hang up on me or turn around and walk away. Once, someone even handed me a pamphlet to a church. You just can't make this stuff up, lol.

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  9. It does make you wonder who the heck gave these weird towns their names. I like a funny post like this. Glad I'm not from a town with a funky name. Imagine that on your birth certificate. Yikes!

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  10. Love these kinds of things --- odd names and locations! BTW, Robyn, I live about 40 minutes from Weed (named for Abner Weed who was a lumberman and chose the location because of the winds that moved through, good for drying lumber!). We have locations like Cheeseville, Mugginsville, Sawyers Bar, Oro Fino, Deadwood, Etna (once known as Rough N'Ready and then Aetna Mills). Fort Jones (originally a fort) was also known as Ottitewa and then Wheelock's, Greenview, and near Redding, CA, there's Igo and Ugo! Deadwood was almost made the county seat of Siskiyou County, then lost to Yreka by 2 votes. Both Siskiyou and Yreka are Shasta tribal names (as was Ottitewa)...

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  11. Love these kinds of things --- odd names and locations! BTW, Robyn, I live about 40 minutes from Weed (named for Abner Weed who was a lumberman and chose the location because of the winds that moved through, good for drying lumber!). We have locations like Cheeseville, Mugginsville, Sawyers Bar, Oro Fino, Deadwood, Etna (once known as Rough N'Ready and then Aetna Mills). Fort Jones (originally a fort) was also known as Ottitewa and then Wheelock's. Then we have Greenview, and near Redding, CA, there's Igo and Ugo! Deadwood was almost made the county seat of Siskiyou County, then lost to Yreka by 2 votes. Both Siskiyou and Yreka are Shasta tribal names (as was Ottitewa)...

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