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Tres Reyes Island view of the Marinduque Mainland

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Additional List of Towns with Unusual Names in US



Photographer and author Gary Gladstone traveled 38,000 miles through 40 states looking for these tiny towns to find out the fascinating tales of how they got their names. And then he put it all in a book called "Passing Gas: And Other Towns Along the American Highway." Here's an excerpt from his book.

How Some Towns Got Their Names

Gas, Kansas: People in tiny Gas, Kansas warn others not to blink or they'll pass Gas. And that's how the book got it's title, too.

Scratch Ankle, Alabama: Church people passing by in their carriages noted that scratching mosquito bites seemed to be the primary pastime of the townspeople as they sat on their porches in the summer.

Intercourse, Alabama: Named for the crossroads where the general store sits. True story: A sign was posted outside the town's meeting hall promoting the local ladies' sewing instruction group. It read, "Intercourse Lessons Wednesday Night." After several car crashes at that intersection, the good ladies were asked to remove the sign. ( I have a posting on Intercourse, Pennsylvania, just a couple of days ago)

Suck-Egg Hollow, Tennessee: When a local farmer realized some critter was eating his hens' eggs, he shot every animal that came close to the henhouse. Then he figured out it was black snakes sucking down the eggs. Because of this story the town got its name of Suck-Egg Hollow.

Toad Suck, Arkansas: Ferryboat captains sucked down moonshine whisky in between runs until they "swole up like toads." Hence, the name.


Peculiar, Missouri: Way back when, the townspeople submitted various names to the mail district for their town. Three times the name they selected was not approved because it was already being used by another town. Finally, officials sent town officials a message urging them to choose a name that was "peculiar, meaning unique."

Dynamite, Washington: Named for the old stone storage shed once used by Chinese laborers who handled explosives.


Hell, Michigan: Named when an important person spurned the place, and as he was storming out of town was heard to say, "You can call this place Hell for all I care." And so they did.

Sweetlips, Tennessee: So named for the Civil War soldiers who stopped for a drink at the stream.

Stinking Point, Virginia: So named when the bodies of Civil War soldiers washed up on shore.


No one remembers why these towns were named this way:

Purgatory, Maine
Tightwad, Missouri
Nothing, Arizona
Zero, Montana
Panic, Pennsylvania

Towns That Made the Headlines
No one remembers how the Pennsylvania towns of Rough and Ready and Fearnot got their names, but in the 1930s there was a newspaper headline announcing a wedding: "Fearnot Man Marries Rough and Ready Woman."

Nice, California made Jay Leno's headline bit on "The Tonight Show": "Nice man arrested for beating wife."

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