What’s in a Name

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Ever wondered how some towns got their names?

Let’s take a look at some American towns and follow the timeline back to see how their were named

Here we go……….

Peculiar, Missouri

Peculiar is near the Kansas border, just south of Kansas City and currently has around 1,800 residents

In 1868 the Postmaster, E.T. Thomson wanted to name the town Excelsior; however, he was informed that the name was already taken

Mr. Thomson reapplied with several other names, only to be informed that they too were taken.

He finally told postal officials to assign the town a unique name, one that was “sort of peculiar”

Well that is the rest of the story….

 

 
Lizard Lick, North Carolina

Located 16 mines east of Raleigh this town has been home of lizard races since 1972

Back in the day, the area was home to a federally operated liquor still…

…lizards were brought in to cut down on the number of insects…

Traveling salesmen noticed the creatures and dubbed the community

Lizard Lick

Hell, Michigan

In 1841, George Reeves, an early settler was asked what the town should be called……..you guessed it..

He said “You can call it “Hell” if you want to…..

This is the place people refer to when they say “When Hell freezes over”

In the Winter, Highland Lake dam often gets icy enough to stop the water flow

There are several festivals in Hell…..

Satan’s Holidays in the summer

Run to Hell – a road race

and, of course, in  October is Halloween in Hell

Chicken, Alaska

This small village, near the Canadian border is named for a bird….no not the chicken…….the ptarmigan

You see this grouse-like creature who somewhat resembles a chicken from a distance is the Alaska State Bird

in the late 1800s the area was settled by gold miners and in 1902 the town decided to incorporate

Problem was that no one knew how to spell ptarmigan so they went with chicken

The town now has a full-time population of about 30 people and mail delivery is every Tuesday and Friday

There is a saloon, but no telephones or central plumbing

Noodle, Texas

Texas slang in the 1800s included “noodle” to mean “nothing”

In the late 1800s that is what settlers found when they arrived at this locale near Abilene

Noodle now proudly contains two churches, a store and an old sign

Embarrass, Minnesota

This town, located 205 miles north of St. Paul, is typically the coldest spot in the continental United States.

Midwinter Temperatures are often minus 60F

It snows in June

The name comes from the original French settlers who used the French word for obstacle – embarrass – to describe the hardships they faced in the territory

Slapout, Alabama

In the early 1900s, the town grocer, Oscar Peeples, would tell his customers he was “slapout” of items his customers requested that were not in stock

The town is located in central Alabama, north of Montgomery and is not just a crossroads

A church, a bank, barber shop and the remains of Mr. Peeples old store, slapout of everything

Joe, Montana

Well you guessed this one…..

In 1993, when Joe Montana signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, a Missouri radio station urged the residents of Ismay, near the North Dakota border, to change their town’s name to Joe

All of the citizens, yes all 22 of them, voted in favor to change the name

Money raised from the selling of “Joe Montana” souvenirs has enabled the town to build a new fire station

Spot, Tennessee

This really is just a spot in the road an hour west of Nashville

The town acquired its name from a sawmill operator who was asked to give the area a name by the postal authorities….as he was sitting with pen in hand to respond to the request……..

wait for the drumroll……..yes, a spot of ink dropped to the stationary and ………..well the rest is history

Satan’s Kingdom, Vermont

Home of a beautiful river gorge, with towering cliffs this area has been known as Satan’s Kingdom since the 1820s

There are many theories about how the town got its name, one of the most prevalent is….

There was a Native American Tribe leader named…….Satan

another is that the area was inhabited by many of society’s outcasts and therefore became known as Satan’s Kingdom

 

I will leave you with some other Town Signs ……. you can research the origin of the names on your own……

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19 responses »

  1. LOVE this post! Hubby & I enjoy road trips and have been to Peculiar, Hell, Toadsuck, Intercouse and the Slapout we went to was in the Okla panhandle aka “No Man’s Land”. Looks like we still have many interesting places to go….love the history and now need to go see “Joe”! 🙂

  2. Love this blog!!! To funny you forgot wellfare Tx, thats a funny one to. I had a customer at work tell me he should move there because he did not have a job……..whatever that means!!

    Ana

  3. This was a fun post to read. I found you through a common friend. Virginia from Bel’ Occhio. As it turns out…I live not 10 minutes from Hell Michigan. My boy’s participate in a ton of the events they have as fundraisers for the Boy Scouts. The Gentleman who owns a fair share of the establishments in town is a war veteran named John Cologn (SP?)…the only one in his platoon who made it back alive. He is committed to making sure all the veterans graves are decorated for memorial day.Hell is a little off the beaten path…but well worth the trip. I’ll be subscribing so I won’t miss anymore of your posts: ) Warmest Regards….Ginny

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