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.