Tag Archives: Kansas

What’s in a Name


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……

Vienna, Austria


On the train to Vienna — what a chaotic scene — a group of loud — (yes and ugly) women have claimed the first class car as their own.  It is apparent they belong in second class car and here come the conductors to remove them.  Immediately the smell and general atmosphere improve.  We decided to move to the dining car and had a marvelous time sitting next to a couple from Kansas (Dorothy’s home planet).  The chef and waiter just had a wonderful shouting match in Czech!  I loved it and could not help myself.  The dining car was full of English speakers so I pretended to interpret and said such things as: “stop bringing me all those orders, I want to sit down and have a cigarette!  I can’t be cooking all the time!”

We have arrive in Vienna!  We check into the Ibis hotel and rest a bit and off we go into the center of Vienna to the Hotel Sacher so that August can have one of his favorite things on the planet — Sacher Torte!  We decide to have complete dinner here, rather than just the Torte.

We begin with Pikante Gujasuppe Czardus Furstin for August and Sacher – Gaseleber Torte for me with a bottle of Grurer Veltliner Kemser Regl.

That is a spicy beef soup for August and a liver pate cake for me with some wonderful dry white wine.







Our main course consists of Wiener Schnitzel with turmeric parsley potatoes and salad for me and Edward Sacher’s Tafelspitz for August – a boiled beef steak with veggies and a fried potato cake.

Ending with one of the most famous dishes on the planet…………..The Sacher Torte!

We go back to our hotel after strolling through the streets for an hour or so. We are tired from out travels, but exited to be here. The architecture is so extravagant and beautiful. We look forward to our exploration tomorrow.

We wake early and prepare for our day. After breakfasting at the hotel (Ibis Hotels offer the most amazing breakfast buffets) Our first stop is the most wonderful and breathtaking Schonbrunner Palace (www.schoenbrunn.at). We tour and are humbled by the history through which we walk. We stand in the concert room , where at the age of 6 Mozart had his first public appearance with the Royal Hapsburg Family — amazing!

As we walk the palace grounds the majesty and beauty dwarf our very presence. The day is warm and we venture into a cafe on the grounds for sme refreshment and rest.

Back onto the metro to venture to the heart of the city to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The stone of the cathedral so finely carved that it seems to be lace stretched into the sky.

We wander the streets of old Vienna and visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace and enter St. Michael’s Church — we marvel that outside the doors are hundreds of people from all over the world walking the streets as like ants on a slice of sweet bread — inside this grand church built in the thirteenth century, filled with the most incredible huge marble carvings and so many chapels, I do not bother to count them, there are no people.

As we exit we move about the streets and stop at many a sidewalk cafe to watch the people go by and to take a refreshment. The buildings that surround us are works of art all in themselves.

We stumble upon the famous golden Strauss statue just 40 meters away from the Kursalon Wien.

The following morning we forego breakfast and hop the metro to explore the Danube. First we cross to the island to the marina area, which we find quite charming. We have arrived too early and all the cafes are closed.

We make our way, by metro, to the station in the center of the bridge over the Danube and disembark to admire the beautiful river.

Back onto the metro to the Naschmarkt, the largest of 26 permanent street markets in Vienna. We meander among the booths offering all varieties of fish, fowl, cheese, olives, produce, nuts and spices.

We stop at the sausage hut and enjoy some very fine sausage, bread, mustard and olives. We are surprised to find so many Asian and Turkish restaurants and vendors here.

We have an early dinner at the Vietnam Bistro and enjoy our spring rolls and pho. The owner is a very nice man who visits with us often during our meal.

We spent the evening sitting on the back patio of the hotel Ibis, enjoying a great Chardonnay from Venice that was only 2 euros at the grocery store! It has been a great stay here in Vienna, but now it is time to head off to Salzburg!