Saturday, October 22, 2005

Odd Place Names In America

For those with precious little to do, why not take a wee peek at a few of the curious and entertaining place names found in the United States of America (like Zap, North Dakota and Knockemstiff, Ohio). So says Victoria Elizabeth, author of What's In a Name? - Odd Places in America.

Elizabeth continues by begging to ask these questions:
  1. Just who might be eager to visit these out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten track, and some might even say, downright peculiar places like Nothing, Arizona or Floyds Knobs, Indiana?
  2. What do real estate agents say and do to attract new property owners to King of Prussia, Valentine or Santa Clause?
  3. Who lives in Nags Head or Lynchburg?
  4. Why would anyone name a place "Punxsutawney" unless of course, one had nothing better to do on "National Groundhog Appreciation Day"?
  5. Where is Frostproof, Funkstown, Pottawattamie, Romeoville and Willacoochee anyway?

Elizabeth's article continues with some very odd city names for every state in the country.

As we began to received emails asking why other interesting names aren't included, we created an online submission form where our reader's can add to Elizabeth's list. After we got this submission, I couldn't help but do just a little research.

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, Webster, Massachusetts

Wow, now that's a mouthful! The lake is most often referred to by locals as "Webster Lake," as the actual pronunciation is too difficult. Given the name by the Nipmuk Indians, the name loosely translates to "fishing place at the boundary." Long ago it was considered neutral territory and became a meeting place and powwow site among the Nipmuks and the Narraganssett, Pequot and Mohegan tribes. However, when the Webster Times ran a humorous article about the lake with a tongue-in-cheek translation of, "You Fish on Your Side, I Fish on My Side, Nobody Fish in the Middle," it became so popular that many don't know today what the actual translation is. "Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg" is the longest place name in the United States and 6th longest in the world. See more about the lake and its history at History of the Lake.

Add your own odd place names by visiting HERE!

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