Weirdest Town Names in the United States (and Their Origins)

Think you live in a town with a strange name? You may change your mind after reading some of these choice names of towns. Wonder where a town got such a weird name? A few fascinating histories will give you something to talk about during that next uncomfortable lull in conversation.

Names that will make you hungry… or not!
 

A surprising number of towns get their names from food. Perhaps one of the best known food-related names is the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania: chocolate anyone? And while some of these may stir your appetite, others may have the opposite effect.

  • Cookietown, Oklahoma – more of a ghost town these days, Cookietown sounds like a delectable place. According to local legend, a local general store owner would hand out free cookies to travelling kids. One such child declared he did not want to leave “Cookietown” and the name stuck (1).
  • Hot Coffee, Mississippi – another tale of warm hospitality leads to the name of this town. Perhaps the predecessor of the ever popular coffee shop originated here, where locals claim an inn that opened in 1870 sold coffee to travelers (2). A common occurrence today must have been a novelty back then.
  • Burnt Water, Arizona – you would have to be a pretty terrible cook to burn the water, but no great yarns could be found about the history of this fascinating name.

The Devil’s in the Details

Some cities have some pretty evil sounding names, but thankfully, the name does not usually fit the surroundings. On the contrary, many of these places are beautiful places to live.

  • Devil’s Lake, North Dakota – this name is evidently the result of a mistranslation from the Native American name Miniwaukan. Although it is unclear what the correct meaning of the word is, early arrivals to the area thought it meant “Bad Spirit.” Of course stories of drowned Indian warriors and lake monsters did little to dispel the misinterpretation, but present day visitors to the beautiful lake area enjoy plenty of great fishing.
  • Devil’s Den, California – evidently the devil had a den, and it is located in California. Local lava formations gave the area its name straight from hell (3).

Just Odd

Need some more strange names? Don’t worry, there are plenty left to talk about, including:

  • Bowlegs, Oklahoma – named after a Seminole Indian during Oklahoma’s oil boom, Bowlegs is actually a mispronunciation of the name “Bolek.”
  • Two Egg, Florida –local tradition has it that the name for this town was born out of the Great Depression. Evidently a certain mother in town regularly sent her boys into the local store to trade two eggs for some sugar. The store got the name “Two Egg,” and the name evidently stuck for the whole town (4).
  • Jot ‘Em Down, Texas – this small community got its name when Dion McDonald opened a store with the name “Jot ‘Em Down,” after a popular radio program business. The name of area was listed by that name by the state highway department (5).

The list of strange names has just begun, but you can discover more on your own. How strange is your community’s name compared to some of these?

  1. http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/ok/cookietown.html
  2. http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/07/17/delicious-destinations-us-cities-with-food-names/
  3. http://www.accuracyproject.org/town-DevilsDen,Calif.html
  4. http://www.twoeggfla.com/history.html
  5. http://www.texasescapes.com/EastTexasTowns/Jot-Em-Down-Texas.htm

 

Paul Moore works with a company near Devil’s Lake, ND, but he has never seen the guy.  Instead he has seen some great company housing for incoming workers to the Bakken area.  Stop by the website for Bakken Residence Suites and see what amenities they offer.


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