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What's In a Name? - Odd Places in America

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By Victoria Elizabeth

What Do 'Dead Horse' And 'Devil's Backbone' Have In Common? -- A Misguided Guide to Unusual Place Names in America.

It is said that England has more than a few rather quaint place names such as Bodmin, Grimbister, Ipswich, Nobottle, No Man's Land, Pie Corner, Pratt's Bottom, Scrabster and Twatt but, they pale in comparison to the plethora of picturesque place names in the "New World".

For those with precious little to do, why not take a wee peek at a few of the curious and entertaining place names found in the United States of America (like Zap,
North Dakota and Knockemstiff, Ohio)

Ransom, Kansas vintage postcard.

Ransom, Kansas vintage postcard.



This state of affairs naturally begs several questions.

1. Just who might be eager to visit these out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten track, and some might even say, downright peculiar places like Nothing, Arizona or Floyds Knobs, Indiana?

2. What do real estate agents say and do to attract new property owners to King of Prussia, Valentine or Santa Clause?

3. Who lives in Nags Head or Lynchburg?

4. Why would anyone name a place "Punxsutawney" unless of course, one had nothing better to do on "National Groundhog Appreciation Day"?

5. Where is Frostproof, Funkstown, Pottawattamie, Romeoville and Willacoochee anyway?

So grab yourself an atlas or a map and whatever you do, drop by and say hello to the folks in:

  • Chicken, Deadhorse or Eek (Alaska)

  • Burnt Corn, Intercourse, Muck City, Rooster (Alabama)

  • Fannie, Greasy Corner, Grubbs, Hooker, Okay, Possum Grape, Smackover, Toad Suck, Turkey Scratch, Weiner, Yellville (Arkansas)

  • Blunt, Bummerville, Deadwood, Doghouse Junction, Frying Pan, Hellhole Palms, Hells Kitchen, Hooker, Last Chance, Mormon Bar, Needles, Ono, Prunedale, Rescue, Relief, Scarface, Squabbletown, Sucker Flat, Timbuctoo, Toad Town, Volcano, Weedpatch, Wimp, You Bet, Yreka Zzyzx (California)

  • Climax, Last Chance, No Name, Parachute, Purgatory (Colorado)

  • Giants Neck, Mianus, Moosup (Connecticut)

  • Howey-in-the-Hills, Kissimmee, Okahumpka, Sopchoppy, Two Egg, Weeki Wachee, Yeehaw Junction (Florida)

  • Between, Chickasawhatchee, Climax, Enigma, Hopeulikit, Talking Rock (Georgia)

  • Good Grief, Beer Bottle Crossing (Idaho)

  • Bald Knob, Devil's Backbone, Grand Detour, Kickapoo, Paw Paw, Roachtown (Illinois)

  • French Lick, Gnaw Bone, Loogootee, Naked City, Roachdale, Toad Hop (Indiana)

  • Diagonal, Gravity, What Cheer (Iowa)

Needles, California

Needles, California, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser

  • Perdition, Ransom (Kansas)

  • Beaver Lick, Bugtussle, Chicken Gizzard, Crummies, Do Stop, Monkeys Elbow, Mousie, Mud Lick, Oddville, Ogle, Spring Lick, Rabbit Hash, Typo (Kentucky)

  • Belcher, Cut-Off, Fort Necessity, Grosse Tete, Mudville, Tickfaw, Waterproof (Louisana)

  • Bald Head, Dickey, Beans Corner Bingo (Maine)

  • Accident, Assawoman Bay, Boring, Crapo, Cockeysville (Maryland)

  • Belchertown, Cow Yard, Mashpee, Sandwich, Swampscott (Massachusetts)

  • Bad Axe, Climax, Hell, Jugville, Kalamazoo, Podunk, Slapneck (Michigan)

  • Climax, Embarass, Nimrod, Nowthen, Savage, Sleepy Eye (Minnesota)

  • Bobo, Chunky, Dragon, Possumneck, Sanatorium, Soso, Yazoo (Mississippi)

  • Conception, Cooter, Enough, Frankenstein, Licking, Peculiar, Roach, Sleeper, Tightwad (Missouri)

  • Bitter Root, Elmo, Hungry Horse, Rocky Boy, Square Butt, Two-Dot, Yaak (Montana)

  • Colon, Fort Crook, Road, Wahoo, Weeping Water, Worms (Nebraska)

  • Bunkerville, Incline Village, Lovelock, Owyhee, Pahrump, Searchlight, Verdi-Mogul, Weed Heights, Winnemucca (Nevada)

  • Bungy, Contoocook, Hell Hollow, Lost Nation, Sandwich Landing (New Hampshire)

  • Bivalve, Brick, Ho-Ho Kus, Little Egg Harbor, Love Ladies, Succasuna (New Jersey)

  • Elephant Butte, Tingle, Truth or Consequences (New Mexico)

  • Cat Elbow Corner, Climax, Coxsackie, Hicksville, Horseheads, Peekskill, Neversink, Yaphank Yonkers (New York)

  • Climax, Gum Neck, Horneytown, Lizard Lick, Meat Camp, Tick Bite, Toast, Whynot (North Carolina)

  • Concrete, Hoople, Voltaire, Zap (North Dakota)

  • Blue Ball, Climax, Fly, Knockemstiff, Three Legs Town (Ohio)

  • Bowlegs, Frogville, Hooker, Okay, Pumpkin Center, Slapout, Slaughterville (Oklahoma)

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Heading into Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, Kathy Weiser,

February, 2008.

  • Boring, Drain, Halfcom, Idiotville, Zig Zag (Oregon)

  • Balltown, Bird-in-Hand, Blue Ball, Climax, Drab, Experiment, Fear Not, Gobbler's Knob, Hempfield, Intercourse, Loyalsockville, Panic, Porkey, Scalp Level, Uno, Virginville (Pennsylvania)

  • Mooseup Valley, Quidnick, Quonochontaug, Woonsocket (Rhode Island)

  • Coward, Due West, Ninetimes, Sugar Tit (South Carolina)

  • Bath, Igloo, Lemmon, Peever, Red Shirt (South Dakota)

  • Bugscuffle, Bucksnort, Defeated, Difficult, Duck Town, Finger, Nameless, Only, Smartt, Sweet Lips, Static, Yum Yum (Tennessee)

  • Cut-n-Shoot, Dime Box, Ding Dong, Frognot, Gun Barrel City, Hoop and Holler, Leaky, Loco, Looneyville, Muleshoe, Notrees, Pointblank, Possum Kingdom, Run and Shoot, Tarzan, Trophy Club, Turkey, Twitty, Uncertain, (Texas)

  • Bald Knob, Hurricane, Lovelock, Orderville (Utah)

  • Bread Loaf, Mosquitoville, Notown, Satans Kingdom (Vermont)

  • Bumpass, Croaker, Frogtown, Goochland, Goosepimple Junction, Mutt, Nuttsville, Ordinary (Virginia)

  • Enumclaw, Humptulips, Klickitat, Kooskooskie, Tumtum, Tumwater (Washington)

  • Big Ugly, Crum, HooHoo, Looneyville, Lost City, Nitro, Odd, Paw, Pinch, War (West Virginia)

  • Embarrass, Footville, Imalone, Spread Eagle, Ubet, Wanderoos (Wisconsin)

  • Bill, Camel Hump, Meeteetse, Muddy Gap (Wyoming)


And, if you want to find these places on a map, go to: http://geonames.usgs.gov/

For a complete list of place names go to: http://www.census.gov/tiger/tms/gazetteer/places2k.txt

Copyright Victoria Elizabeth 2004. All rights reserved.

Added March, 2005


Readers' Additions:

  • Alligator, Mississippi

  • Assinippi, Massachusetts

  • Bald Knob, Arkansas

  • Bates Motel, Ontario, Oregon

  • Big Bone Lick, Kentucky

  • Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania

  • Black Lick, Pennsylvania

  • Blue, Oklahoma

  • Blue Balls, Arkansas

  • Boring, Oregon

  • Booger Hollow, Arkansas

  • Booger Hollow, North Carolina

  • Buffalo Soapstone, Alaska

  • Christmas, Michigan

  • Coffeeville, Kansas

  • Coon Hunter, Pennsylvania

  • Dry Prong, Louisiana

  • Dildo, Newfoundland, Canada

  • Donner and Blitzen River, Frenchglen, Oregon

  • Erect, North Carolina

  • French Lick, Indiana

  • Frog Jump, Tennessee

  • Home, Kansas

  • Hot Coffee, Mississippi

  • Hygiene, Colorado

  • Hurt, Virginia

  • Ice, Oklahoma

  • Jackass Flats, Virginia

  • Joe, Montana

  • Jump Off Joe Lake, Washington

  • Knob Lick, Missouri

  • Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, Webster, Massachusetts - Wow, now that's a mouthful and we couldn't resist doing a little research on this. The lake is most often referred to by locals as "Webster Lake," as the actual pronunciation is too difficult. Given the name by the Nipmuk Indians, the name loosely translates to "fishing place at the boundary." Long ago it was considered neutral territory and became a meeting place and powwow site among the Nipmuks and the Narraganssett, Pequot and Mohegan tribes. However, when the Webster Times ran a humorous article about the lake with a tongue-in-cheek translation of, "You Fish on Your Side, I Fish on My Side, Nobody Fish in the Middle," it became so popular that many don't know today what the actual translation is. "Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg" is the longest place name in the United States and 6th longest in the world. See more about the lake and its history at History of the Lake.

  • Lickdale, Pennsylvania

  • Maggie's Nipples, Wyoming

  • Mary D, Pennsylvania

  • Monkey Eyebrow, Kentucky

  • Oatmeal, Texas

  • Panther Burn, Mississippi

  • Pie Town, New Mexico

  • Piggot, Arkansas

  • Pink, Oklahoma

  • Possumneck, Mississippi

  • Possum Kingdom, South Carolina

  • Possum Trot, Kentucky

  • Puseyville, Pennsylvania

  • Racket, Missouri

  • Rooster Poot, Arkansas
  • Rough and Ready, California
  • Seven Devils, North Carolina
  • Shickshinny, Pennsylvania

  • Shivers, Mississippi

  • Skookumchuck River, Washington
  • Shoot, Texas

  • Skullbone, Tennessee

  • Snow, Oklahoma

  • SoSo, Mississippi

  • Speedway, Indiana

  • Spot, Alabama

  • Strawberry, Arizona

  • Time, Illinois

  • Tookiedoo, South Carolina

  • Tum Tum, Washington

  • Wapwallopen, Pennsylvania

  • Walla Walla, Washington

  • Weiner, Arkansas

  • Welcome, North Carolina

  • Whorehouse Meadows, Oregon

  • Wing, Alabama - Pronounced like "wang," as in pass me some more of them chikin wangs.

  • Why Not, Mississippi

  • Y, Alaska

Updated January, 2011

About the Author:  Victoria Elizabeth. "The Quipping Queen", enjoys musing about mirthful things in Life, the Universe and Everything In between from the pages of her blatherskating blog at www.quippingqueen.blogspot.com



Article provided by:  Go Articles



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