15 of the Weirdest Town Names in America
It’s common knowledge that many states have towns called Springfield, based on the number of them who thought they were the inspiration for the hometown of TV’s ‘The Simpsons,’ only to find out they weren’t. But there are other city or town names you may not have heard of, and for good reason.
For some places, tourism is a major source of income. Other places don’t seem to care that much about bringing in those tourism dollars, based on their names at least. After the recent news that Alaska’s Rat Island, which is now rodent free after two centuries, has changed its name to Hawadax (meaning “welcome”), we decided it was a good time to find out what other places should think about changing their names. What we found was a rather extensive list of very strange town names. We picked a few of our favorites. What’s the weirdest town name you’ve ever come across?
Probably the best thing to do to get people to visit your city is to give it an enticing name, like Boring, OR. (They apply the same theory for building tourism in Boring, MD.) We can only assume that a visit to either one of these townships would be a thrill a minute. We can also make some assumptions about a visit to Idiotville, OR. The only other place we wish we could visit in Oregon would have to be Half.com, but only if they named it that because everything has been cut in half.
If you don’t want to go somewhere boring, perhaps a trip to Hell and back would be more your style. That’s easy to do since Hell happens to be in Michigan. We can’t figure out why Hell was ever considered a good name for a town, but it’s not an original. There’s also a Hellhole, ID. Technically, it’s considered a “populated area” more than it is a town, but even so, how does an area called Hellhole get populated at all?
It’s not Hell, but Dismal, TN isn’t exactly a major destination. Sure, you could say that’s because it’s a small area in the middle of Tennessee, but we say it’s because the name sort of sets up your expectations of it. It’s no surprise that Dismal is about as popular place as Disappointment, KY. Give a place a name like Disappointment and you’ve got a self-fulfilling prophecy on your hands. The people of Hopeulikit, GA have a little better idea. They aren’t setting up huge expectations, but at least the message is positive.
This town seems to be more of an enigma than a place to avoid completely, but really, if someone says to you “Let’s go visit Why, AZ,” your only true response can be “Why?” And if you have to ask yourself, don’t you already know the answer? Still, the tourism board of Why, AZ has to be doing just a bit better than the folks of Nothing, AZ. What’s to see there? Nothing. We believe it’s the tourism of Whynot, MS that must be experiencing some true success. Why not visit Whynot?
Life is different in Alaska. It’s far away and the culture is more rustic than a lot of us are used to. But is Deadhorse, even if it is in Alaska, a good name for a town? The imagined smell alone is worth considering a detour. In fact, we’re guessing that Eek, AK is probably nearby. Judging by the name, they are most likely downwind. Honorable mention for strangest town name in Alaska also goes to Unalaska. It’s located at a very Southern point in Alaska, but we think it’s still probably fairly Alaskan in nature.
We find the name of this town in Missouri to be quite strange. Still, we think perhaps people might choose to visit Peculiar, MO just to see what makes it so odd. It might be more like visiting Disappointment, KY though, because there really isn’t anything peculiar about it.
The story goes that after the Civil War, the townspeople couldn’t settle on a name that wasn’t already taken so they asked their postmaster to assign a name saying in a letter, “We don’t care what name you give us, so long as it is sort of peculiar.” The postmaster assigned the curious name with this reply, “My conclusion is that in all the land it would be difficult to imagine a more distinctive, more peculiar name than Peculiar.” And, hopefully that was the last time a postmaster was ever asked to name a town.
Burnt Corn, Alabama
The small town, or populated area, known as Burnt Corn, AL has a rather unusual name that puts us in mind of those afternoons at the office when someone who doesn’t know how to use the microwave decides to make popcorn. Their website touts it as “The Best Little Community in Alabama!” And of course you’d want to visit because, also according to the site, “Everybody knows somebody from Burnt Corn.” It’s the kind of place where you can find family reunion information on the city’s website, and photos of what are likely all of the houses in town. They seem like nice people; they just need a nicer smelling name for their town.
Possum Grape, Arkansas
We really have no idea what a possum grape is, but apparently it’s a thing, because someone felt it was necessary to name Possum Grape, AR after it. We checked their Facebook page, and it didn’t help us understand what a possum grape is either. We don’t want to be gross, but there’s only one thing we can imagine referring to as a possum grape, and we wouldn’t want to visit a town so full of it that it would have to bear the name. We’re hoping, for the town’s sake, that the internet is right when it tells us a possum grape is a type of plant. Unfortunately, botanical definitions will be of no assistance to the tourism boards of Toad Suck and Bald Knob, AR. They really just need to rethink things.
Boogertown, North Carolina
Ok, we know what a booger is. This isn’t a possum grape situation. This is Boogertown, NC and we have a pretty good idea of what this town was named after. We just don’t get it. Again, technically speaking, it’s just a “populated area” and probably not an official, full-sized town. But really, how does a place known as Boogertown ever get populated? It turns out, the place has another name: Gastonia, which may or may not be better. The citizens have clearly decided Boogertown is preferable to Gastonia. They even celebrate their name during the holidays with festive signs that say “Have a Boogertown Christmas!” Depending on how cold and flu season is going, we probably will.
If we had to make a choice, it’s possible we would prefer the results of living in Boogertown to what you might find in Fleatown, OH. It just seems like such an itchy place. Itchy or not, it’s an unincorporated community in Licking County. Yes, we didn’t make that up, Fleatown is in Licking County. We’re starting to get frightened about what happens there, but we’re sure the tourism dollars are just rolling in. There’s probably a niche for flea licking. Probably.
The saying goes that everything is bigger in Texas. Apparently, everything is also crazier in Texas. Why else would they name an entire town Looneyville, TX? The story they tell the public is that the town is named for a storekeeper named John Looney, who was the one who received the town’s mail. But, would you visit there to see what really gave it its name, or would you avoid it out of fear of finding out? If you do go, make sure you also visit Jot-Em-Down, TX and write all about your Looneyville experiences.
Cheesequake, New Jersey
Cheesequake, NJ is basically inexplicable. What is a cheesequake? And is it something we would want to experience? It sounds like an avalanche of delicious snacks or an ice cream dessert, so perhaps the answer is “Yes. Please bring it on.” In reality, it is likely a mispronounced version of Chichequaas, which was a sub-tribe of the Native American Lenni Lenape people, who originally lived there. We prefer to think of it as an avalanche of dairy goodness.
Here’s where things get steamy. There’s probably a perfectly good explanation for Hooker, OK that involves a noble forefather whose last name was Hooker. We don’t care. It sounds funny. It makes for funny store names. How much fun do you think you would have in Hooker? This actually seems like a good way to attract tourists. Tourists of a certain type, but tourists none-the-less. This is almost as good as Hooker Hole, LA, which has become our new favorite populated area. We’ll ignore the fact that the name comes from a body of water where fisherman catch a lot of fish, because, while fishing can be enjoyable, that’s not as much fun to think about.
It’s possible the founding fathers of Intercourse, PA knew exactly what they were doing. This is probably the one place we think should keep their terrible name. It seems like a fun place to visit. It might even be as fun as Intercourse, AL, but since Intercourse, AL is in closer proximity to Climax, AL, we can only assume they’re having more fun there. There’s other evidence that Intercourse, PA might not be as fun as it sounds. It’s close to Virginville and Blue Ball, PA and that has to mean something.
No Name, CO
After all this, we've learned that naming your city can be difficult. Especially when you have to worry about what kind of name would best attract quality residents and visitors. Apparently the stress of this was too much for the people of No Name, CO. It seems like they finally gave up and decided their town with no name should just be called No Name. What it lacks in creativity, it makes up for in not being Hell or Dismal. We believe the people of Hygiene, CO, however, knew exactly what they were doing. And, perhaps now they have a high rate of showering and smelling good.