Our faith in America’s sense of humor was restored during the pandemic summer of 2020.
We escaped from the onslaught of negative news and propaganda by just getting away. Our travels through 14 states and Washington D.C. for over a month thoroughly offered a lighter side of truth and experiences.
Besides counting the number of Trump (159) and Biden (0) flags and banners along the way, we got a kick from some of the names and places we saw. Uranus, Missouri, Santa Claus, Indiana and Hot Coffee, Mississippi were three favorites that come to mind.
To pass some of the highway mile time away, we researched and gathered humorous and fun town names from all 50 states. Here’s are list:
Screamer, an unincorporated community in southeastern Alabama, may have come from 19th century Native Americans who screamed and heckled white train travelers as they passed by what was then a reservation. Smut Eye, Alabama is doozie too.
Unalaska has over 4,500 residents, making it the largest city in the Aleutian Islands. Originally, Unangan residents named it Agunalaksh, a word that means “near the peninsula.” Eek, Alaska is noteworthy.
Why a call a town?” Yes, that’s right “Why” is a small community near the U.S.-Mexico border namhed after the Y-shaped intersection of two nearby highways. But because of an Arizona law requiring place names have at least three letters, “Y” became the much more pragmatic “Why.”
Smackover, a town of 1800 people in southern Arkansas, was once a major oil producer. Settled by French trappers in the early 19th century, “Smackover” may have derived from the French name for a local creek, Chemin Couvert, which means “covered way”—and “sumac couvert” means a covering of sumac trees, a local plant. Goobertown is another fun one
Rough and Ready, California, is named after an old mining company with that same label. It was the first to secede from the Union and become its own “republic” in 1850 as a protest against mining taxes, prohibition mandates, and laws that weren’t enforced. They rejoined the United States three months later.
Colorado has No Name. When government official first marked a newly constructed exit off I-70 with a sign reading “No Name” as a placeholder, it stuck.
Hazardville, Connecticut, was an 1800s industrial village that made gunpowder. The town was named after Colonel Augustus George Hazard, who purchased and expanded the gunpowder company in 1837.
Corner Ketch is an unincorporated community in New Castle County, Delaware. A rough-and-tumble local bar was known for warning strangers that if they didn’t get you in there, “They’ll ketch ye at the corner.”
Two Egg, Florida, got its name during the Great Depression. When bartering transactions occurred with two eggs traded, almost like currency, for goods.
Climax, Georgia sits at the highest point on the railroad between Savannah and the Chattahoochee River.
Volcano, Hawaii sits near the Hilo Volcano and several volcanic hot spots.
Slickpoo, near Culdesac, Idaho, was once a bustling village and site of a Catholic mission. Landowner Josiah Slickpoo donated acreage to the missionaries. Dickshooter, Idaho made us laugh too.
Sandwich got its name from Sandwich, New Hampshire.
Santa Claus, Indiana celebrates the spirit of Christmas every day, but especially at the Post Office in December. Gnaw Bone is an interesting name too.
What cheer Iowa has in What Cheer, Iowa. It was derived from an old English greeting.
Gas, Kansas is the butt of many jokes. “You just passed Gas.” “Gas Kan.” “Get Gas!” Natural gas was discovered in the area in 1898.
Bugtussle is a tiny spot on the Kentucky-Tennessee border is an homage to doodlebugs. Personally, I think Kentucky has some of the best town names with Knob Lick, Bald Knob, Chicken Bristle, Fearsville, Hippo, Krypton, Mud Lick, Monkeys Eyebrow, Pig, and Raccoon.
Bald Knob (guess they licked it too much?), Chicken Bristle, Fearsville, Hippo, Krypton (say hi to Superman’s parents for us!), Mud Lick, Monkeys Eyebrow, Pig, and Raccoon.
Uneedus is the settlement site of the Lake Superior Piling Company. Their corporate slogan was “You need us.” Residents founded another farm community nearby and called it Weneedu.
Burnt Porcupine is an island off the coast of Maine. Located near Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, Burnt Porcupine has nearby sister islands with equally intriguing names: Bald Porcupine, Long Porcupine, and Sheep Porcupine.
Boring, Maryland. Enough said.
Belchertown wasn’t named for the aftermath of a particularly gassy meal. It’s named after Jonathan Belcher, a colonial governor of Massachusetts.
Hell is 15 miles northwest of Ann Arbor. In the 1830s, the town settler, George Reeves, traded homemade whiskey to local farmers for grain. The farmer’s wives said “He’s gone to hell again.”
Nimrod, Minnesota is full of nimrods. In the book of Genesis, Nimrod is described as “a mighty hunter before the Lord” and is credited with overseeing the construction of the Tower of Babel.
Hot Coffee is marked as the midpoint between Natchez, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama. A late 1800s inn was erected and capitalized on the spring water, molasses and New Orleans beans used to make hot coffee for weary travelers.
Although Uranus was our favorite spot in Missouri, Tightwad has a cool name too. There’s also a Cooter and a Licking.
Pray, Montana. And they do. But the town of Pray, Montana, was named for then-state representative Charles Nelson Pray in 1907.
Magnet, Nebraska was named by settler B.E. Smith in 1893.
Jiggs, Nevada is about 30 miles south of Elko. It’s named after a top hat-wearing, cigar smoking Irish-American protagonist from an old comic strip Bringing Up Father. A women’s organization in town dubbed itself Maggie’s Club after the character’s wife.
Sandwich is named after The Fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montague, who actually invented the sandwich. In 1763, he chartered the town between the Lakes Region and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Loveladies, New Jersey, was named from a nearby island owned by Thomas Lovelady, a local hunter and sportsman.
Candy Kitchen lies between Zuni and Navajo reservations in western New Mexico. A local moonshine distiller needed a front to hide his illicit operations during Prohibition. To secure the sugar necessary to concoct barrels of hooch, the moonshiner established a confectionery that produced pinion nut candy on the side. Just 85 miles away is Pie Town.
Neversink, New York is currently sunk under about 175 feet of water. Named for the Neversink River, the longest tributary of the Delaware River, the city of 2000 was a Catskill towns flooded in the 1950s to create reservoirs that would provide water to New York City. It relocated afterwards. But another town, Bittersweet, remains underwater. On land, are towns called Coxsackie and Butternuts.
Why not Why Not? That’s the named settled upon when the post office was established in 1860. If not, try Lizard Lick, NC.
Cannon Ball, North Dakota gets its name from geological curiosities called concretions. There’s also Zap.
Knockemstiff, Ohio. Bar brawls and street fights during moonshine days, prompted the advice from a preacher. When asked by a woman on how to keep her cheating husband home and faithful, the preacher responded simply: “Knock ‘em stiff.” Take that advice however you want.
Gene Autry, Oklahoma was named after the singing cowboy who purchased a 1200-acre ranch nearby that he would turn into the headquarters of his Flying A Ranch Rodeo. On November 16, 1941, the town of Berwyn officially became Gene Autry, Oklahoma. It’s home to a museum and film festival in his honor.
Zigzag, Oregon, in the middle of Mount Hood National Forest, is named after the Zigzag River, which drains from the Zigzag Glacier. Notable is
Intercourse is in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. “It’s okay, you can giggle!” the village’s website says. “We’re happy with our name. It’s the perfect conversation starter.” About 20 minutes away is the town Blue Ball, named after an 1850s inn.
Woonsocket is the sixth largest city in Rhode Island ands was originally known as la ville la plus française aux États-Unis, which translates to “the most French city in the United States.”
Historians believe the name is an evolved variation of a word from a Native American language.
Ketchuptown got its name from a country store built by Herbert Small in 1927 were locals went to “catch up” on news and gossip.
Mud Butte was named for a nearby barren butte. In 1981, archeologists digging around unearthed the sixth Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever discovered, after a local rancher finally got around to calling a museum about the dinosaur bones he’d seen digging out of a cliff on his property for years.
Difficult, Tennessee isn’t too hard to remember.
Muleshoe, Happy, Dime Box, Gun Barrel City, Cut and Shoot, Telephone, Jot ’em Down, Loco, and Comfort were among my favorite town names in Texas until I came upon Ding Dong. Located in Bell County, the community was named after its founders, the Bell family.
Mexican Hat, Utah, has a 60-foot-wide, sombrero-shaped rock formation on the northeast side of town.
Satans Kingdom, Vermont is not the only state with that town name. Massachusetts and Connecticut does too. The land was said to be rocky and void of fertile soil.
Bumpass, Virginia is pronounced “bump-iss.”
Humptulips was a major logging center. The name comes from a local Native American word meaning “hard to pole.” Native Americans used to canoe by propelling themselves along with poles.
Lick Fork, Virginia is basically known for photo opportunities with signs bearing that name. There’s more in Booger Hole.
Bosstown, Wisconsin takes its name from a William Henry Dosch, a storeowner nicknamed Boss. Wow! There’s also a Spread Eagle.
Chugwater, Wyoming was home of the Mandan tribe, whose chief was reportedly injured during a buffalo hunt and sent his son to lead the hunting party in his place. According to Chugwater’s website, the son determined that the easiest way to kill the buffalo was to drive them off the local chalk cliffs. “The word ‘chug,’” the town’s website notes, “is said to describe the noise that the buffalo or the falling chalk made when it hit the ground or fell into the water under the bluff, depending on which version of the legend you wish to believe. Indians began to call the area ‘water at the place where the buffalo chug.’”