When doing document translations, it is inevitable to come across words that make translators stop and think, or maybe laugh aloud. Some words may be out of context, or ridiculous or downright funny. Just like some of the names of places around the world.
For example, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, consisting of 58 letters, is one of the longest place names on earth. It is a village is Wales that translates to which in English means “Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio near the red cave” although the locals call their village Llanfairpwll.
But you’ll be surprised that in the United States, there are towns across all 50 states that some may consider funny, whimsical, ludicrous or incredible. In Wisconsin for example, a town is called Booger Hole, while Nothing is a town in Arizona.
So let’s travel across the U.S. and read about these hilarious place names.
One of the unincorporated communities in Alabama’s southeastern side is Screamer. A local historian recalls its noisy history and its origins. In one version of the history says that Native Americans loudly heckle trains with white passengers passing by their reservation. Another version of the story believes that the town was called Screamer because of the screaming of local animals, such as wildcats, panthers and bears. Screamer is not the only town in Alabama with a different name. There’s also Smuteye, Lick Skillet and Boar Tush, which probably have interesting histories as well.
In the state of Alaska, you can find towns named Deadhorse, Coldfoot and Clam Gulch. But one of the most outstanding is Unalaska, which has about 4,500 inhabitants. Among the Aleutian Islands, Unalaska is the largest city. It was originally called Agunalaksh, which in English means ”near the peninsula” that was changed into Ounalashka when the Russian fur traders came. It’s still part of Alaska, though, despite its name.
Arizona has several towns with incredible names, such as So-Hi, Nothing and Kaka. There is also a town called Why. It’s a small community located close the U.S. border with Mexico. It used to be called Y, because of the intersection of two highways. However, Arizona laws require place names to contain at least three letters. Therefore, instead of just Y, officials changed it to Why.
Some of the towns in Arkansas have suggestive names, such as Weiner, Blue Ball and Bald Knob. One town’s name is different though, as it’s called Smackover. The town is home to 1,800 people. Years ago it was one of the biggest oil producers in the country. French trappers settled in the area in the early part of the 19th century, so it is believed that the name came from Chemin Couvert, a local creek. It translates to “covered way.” It also means “sumac couvert or a covering of sumac trees. Others believed that the name came from the oil streaming legend, ”smack over the derrick.” The Arkansas website says that the name originated from local settler who jumped ”smack over the creek.”
Rough and Ready is only a small town, with a current population of 1,581. Its name came from a mining company of the same name. The townsfolk fought hard for their independence and the first one to secede from the Union. In 1850, it became a ”republic” to show that they are protesting against unenforced laws, prohibition mandates and mining taxes. Although they rejoined the Union after three months of independence, the residents still honor Rough and Ready with an annual last Saturday of June celebration. Other towns with whimsical names are Old Fig Garden, East Yolo and Beiber (former name: Chalk Ford). Bieber, home to 510 residents is named after Judge Beiber (not Justin).
The town of No Name in Colorado must be the most uninspired name. Also, there are only about 200 persons living in the area. Based on available reports, a ”No Name” sign was placed to mark the newly constructed exit from I-70. Before the local officials were able to give it a proper name, “No Name” has already stuck and it gained the support of the community. The name had extended use, so you’ll see No Name hiking trail, No Name Creek and No Name tunnels when you come to visit. Of course, you’ll also find other towns with names such as Last Chance, Hygiene and Gunbarrel.
Mystic, Moosup and Happyland are some of the towns in Connecticut. Another town is named Hazardville. The town used to be an industrial village in the 19th century that is known for manufacturing gunpowder. But it was not because of this that it was given that name. Its name was to honor Colonel Augustus George Hazard, who bought and expanded the company.
Aside from Hoars Addition, Flea Hill and Bacons, Delaware also has a town called Corner Ketch, which is an unincorporated locale in New Castle County. The name originated from a small bar where the patrons often end up fighting. Townspeople used to say, “They’ll ketch ye at the corner” to warn strangers visiting the town.
The state of Florida has its share of strange town names. Yeehaw Junction, Leisure City and Christmas are tame place names, compared to Two Egg, which was given to the town when the country was experiencing the Great Depression. According to local legends, there were two poor boys who do not have cash to buy goods from a local store. They started to do barter trade by paying the shopkeeper two eggs for sugar and other goods. It became a regular business transaction that patrons refer to it as the two-egg store, a name that a traveling salesman spread to other places in Florida.
Empress, Cash and Balls Ferry are towns in Georgia. Another town, named Climax that was founded in the 1880s was named that way because it is located at the highest point on the railroad between the Chattahoochee River and Savannah.
Hawaii Cod Fish Village, Haiku, Volcano
A town called Volcano is near Hilo. It’s a landlocked area that is adjacent to several volcanoes. It is close to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Kilauea Iki Trail. Other Hawaii towns are called Haiku and Cod Fish Village, which must be named because of the town’s local activities.
The state of Idaho also has some towns with suggestive names like Dingle, Dickshooter and Slickpoo. The latter is near Culdesac and used to be a very bustling village that was named after Josiah Slickpoo, who donated the land to some Catholic missionaries.
Illinois: Big Foot Prairie, Chicken Bristle, Lick Creek
Lick Creek, Chicken Bristle, Big Foot Prairie – these are just some of the towns in Illinois. The state also has Sandwich, which used to be called Almon in 1855, after Almon Cage, a land developer. A train stop liaison gave it the name Sandwich after his own hometown in New Hampshire. The town still holds an annual Sandwich Festival.
When you’re in Santa Claus, Indiana, you’ll feel like celebrating Christmas each day. According to legend, it used to be called Santa Fe. But when the town decided to have a post office in 1896, the post officials said they must choose another name. A person thought the Santa Claus is fitting. So now the town receives thousands of mail addressed to Santa Claus each year. Pigeon and Gnaw Bone are also towns in Indiana.
The state has towns named Hicks, Fertile and Balltown, which are suggestive names. But What Cheer is also a town name, given to a town where coal used to be mined. It used to be called Petersburg but was renamed What Cheer by a shop owner who also created the town’s port office.
Gas is a town in Kansas that got its name from the natural gas that was found in the area around 1898. Other towns are named Red Onion, Good Intent and Dry Wood.
Bugtussle, Knob Lick, Hippo and Broad Bottom are towns in Kentucky. Bugtussle as a large doodlebug population that bothered workers who slept in barns during harvest season.
The state’s town name of Uneedus came from the corporate slogan of the Lake Superior Piling Company. The company’s ”you need us” was for the model farms that the company established. It was alleged that another model farm called Weneedu was founded by the town’s residents.
It’s intriguing when you hear town names such as Sheep Porcupine, Long Porcupine, Bald Porcupine and Burnt Porcupine in Maine. Aside from these names, there are other towns as well, named Shady Nook, Owls Head and Bald Head.
There must be nothing to do in the town of Boring in Maryland, which used to be called Fairview. Because there were already several towns in the country named Fairview, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) requested that it be given another name. In reality it is not because the town is boring that it was given that name. It was actually to honor David J. Boring, the town’s first postmaster. Shady Side, Crapo and Accident are some of the other towns in Maryland.
Massachusetts’ colonial governor was Jonathan Belcher, for whom the town of Belchertown was named after. But the state also has Teaticket and Satans Kingdom.
George Reeves produced homemade whiskey from the grain that local farmers grew. One of the farmers’ wives often remarked that her husband once again went to hell when the farmer deals with Reeves. The towns of Dick and Colon are also in Michigan.
Minnesota town’s Nimrod has a population of 69. The name refers to a character in the Bible called Nimrod, who managed the Tower of Babel’s construction. Ham Lake, Good Thunder and Castle Danger are also towns in Minnesota.
Hot Coffee is a town that was named after an enterprising business, ‘a coffee shop established by an inn keeper, L.N. Davis, who wanted to boost the spirits of tired travelers. He posted a sign saying that his hot coffee the best by using spring water and molasses drippings to sweeten the coffee that came from coffee beans from New Orleans.
One Missouri town became famous for its bank, which carries the town’s name – Tightwad. Many customers across the U.S. open accounts in the local bank so they can issue checks printed with the logo of Tighwad.
Pray, Montana has no religious significance. The town’s name honors Charles Nelson Pray, a former state representative. Montana has other food-themed towns such as Sourdough, Hungry Joe and Big Sag.
Magnet in Nebraska was named as such because the town’s mapper, B.E Smith wanted to give it a beautiful name that could attract visitors. About 75 people live in this town today.
Jiggs was named in 1918 by a businessman who practically owned the town. He had a general store, dance club, hotel and other establishments in the area. The name was suggested by one of his children, a character from Bringing Up Father, a comic strip. The women’s organization later named their group as Maggie’s Club, the wife of the comic strip character.
A town’s name, Sandwich, came from the John Montague, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich. A local mountain range carries the same name. There is also a Sandwich dome in New Hampshire.
New Jersey’s Loveladies town got its name after local sportsman and hunter Thomas Lovelady. The town started as a life-saving station along the Jersey shore. The name became official in 1952.
A town in New Mexico is called Candy Kitchen. The name was used during the Prohibition to mask his moonshining activities. In order for him to procure sugar for his distilling operation, he created a confectionary that manufactured pinion candy. New Mexico also has a town named Pie Town. It also has Holy Ghost and Elephant Butte.
It’s funny that New York used to have a town named Neversink that is now actually 175 feet under water because of the establishment of reservoirs in the 1950s in the Catskill area. The town has relocated but its neighboring Bittersweet, a neighboring town that went underwater for good.
Whynot became the name of a fertile town in the center of North Carolina that used to have no name. When the USPS decided to put a post office in the community, the residents had a debate. People were asking, ”why not name the town as such” and other why not’s. Out of frustration, a local suggested to give the town the name of Why Not to end the discussion.
Concretions are geological creations, produced by sediments that built around shells or plants in North Dakota. The sediments turned into rocks that were perfect orbs, resembling cannonballs. Thus the town was named as Cannon Ball.
According to local legend most types of delinquency happened at the community of Knockemstiff, which became a fitting name for the locale. Another lore said that a preacher advised women to render them unconscious (knock them down so they become stiff) to stop them from cheating.
Oklahoma: Dead Women Crossing, Greasy, Hooker
Gene Autry is a town in Oklahoma that used to be called Berwyn. It was named after cowboy-singer, Gene Autry, who bought a 1200-acre ranch in the area that he later turned into the Flying A Ranch Rodeo headquarters.
Zigzag’s name came from the unusual movements people have to do to descend a ravine close to Mount Hood. A pioneer, Joel Palmer, described the zigzag motion that should be done to go down the ravine.
Pennsylvania: Bird-in-Hand, Halfway House, Intercourse
In 1814, the town of Intercourse adopted this name. It used to be named Cross Keys. Intercourse came to be its name because two main roads created an intersection. Others believe that it used to be Entercourse as the town is located near a racetrack’s entrance. The state also has towns like Blue Ball, Halfway House and Bird-in-Hand.
The town of Woonsocket is the most French-like city in the country and one of the largest cities in Rhode Island. The whimsical moniker is not French but a corruption of a term from the language used by Native Americans in the state.
The town called Ketchuptown in South Carolina was not named after the condiment. It was actually due to a meeting place, a country store of Herbert Small. His store became the farmers’ meeting place to get updated (catch up) or know the latest gossip and news.
Mud Butte is named after a single flat-topped hill that had steep sides in South Dakota. It became famous by the discovery of the 6th skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.
The name of the town of Difficult is said to have come from a comment made by a postal service officer who said that the name (whatever it was at that time) was difficult (to write, spell or pronounce). The townspeople thought that it was the name being given to their locality and they accepted it.
Ding Dong is a community located in the county of Bell in Texas. The county was named in honor of Governor Peter Hansborough Bell whereas the town was named after the founders, the Bell family.
Utah has a town named Mexican Hat, which is due to a rock formation that is shaped like a Mexican sombrero. The huge formation has a width of 60 feet. It is located in the town’s northeast portion.
The state’s town called Satan’s Kingdom came from a settler who resented the land that he received. According to local tale, the settler was expecting rolling acres of fertile land. However he was given an area with hills and rocks.
Locals in the town of Bumpass, Virginia has a standing policy to not talk to people new to the area. They also insist that their town’s name is pronounced as ”bump-iss.”
The town of Humptulips came from a word used by Native Americans living in the area that translates to “hard to pole,” citing the Humptulips River that natives traverse by canoe. The area used to be a main center of logging.
The town of Lick Fork probably came from a salt lick that is located nearby that wild animals and horses normally visit. The state also has towns named War, Hoohoo and Bald Knob.
Bosstown is named after William Henry Dosch whose nickname was Boss. Locals said that he was a sickly child who got used to all the attention given to him that he became a bit bossy. Spread Eagle, Iamalone and Cheat Lake are other towns in Wisconsin.
Chugwater town was an area that used to be a Mandan tribe territory. The term ”chug” was the sound of a buffalo falling to the ground or on water. White settlers who came to inhabit the area retained the use of the terms from the Native American language.
There you have it – some of the funniest and incredulous names of towns in the U.S. There are more actually, but we’d like for you to share them with us.
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