Friday, December 14, 2018 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

How These 7 Cities in America Got Their Weird Names

It’s impossible to not sometimes question what our forefathers must have been thinking. If a group of early American settlers didn’t like it where they were, they loaded up their wagons, headed out, and didn’t stop until they found a good spot they could all agree on.

Once their new town was roughly constructed they had to the figure out what to call their new home. Depending on the group, they could have met in their newly constructed church and hashed this important decision out, but by the names of some of these towns, it appears they more than likely discussed things over shots of rotgut whiskey in their new saloon.

The most widely used names for new towns required zero imagination. There are 88 Washington’s, 31 Greenville’s, 41 Springfield’s, 35 Franklin’s, and so on… Ho Hum. But then there were those bands of pioneers who wouldn’t settle for the mundane. The rebels without a cause.
 
Here’s what they came up with.
 

Bumpass, Virginia

Really? The Virginia State Tourism Board claims Bumpass is for Lovers. The biggest problem going on here is people keep stealing their town sign. How could it not be tempting?

It’s a guess how many people live in Bumpass. The residents are secretive and don’t like outsiders. Most of them used to work at a long since gone chicken coop factory but now they mostly support themselves by working at a nuclear plant five miles down the road. It’s a love/hate relationship. They say the plant has brought in some undesirables.

When the Postmaster at the 77 box post office was quizzed about the town, here is what he had to say, “I’m going to tell you as little as possible. Some reporter already came through here one time and did a story. It made everybody mad at everybody else; the things that were said.”

When asked how the town got its name, a clueless resident said, “Some people say Bumpass got its name after somebody rode through on a horse and bumped his a**. Other people call it ‘Bum Pass’ because a lot of hoboes used to get off the train around here.” This resident has lived in Bumpass her entire life in the same 19th-century house. Actually, the town was founded in the 18th century by the Bumpass family, none of who remain.
 
Bumpass, Virginia
Humptulips, Washington

This tiny town in western Washington is home to 60 families. For 11 months out of the year, the town is muddy, wet, cold, and downright nasty. It receives an annual 100 inches of rain and the average year-round temperature is only 49 degrees.

The origin of the towns name is one of theory, but it’s the best thing they’ve got. There are two of them. One says Humptulips is a Native-American term meaning, “chilly region.” Makes sense. The other still claims it is of Native-American origin, but they translate it to mean, “hard to pole.” The town sits on a river that’s difficult to navigate because of sandbars and fallen trees so poling a canoe would have been a chore.

Either way, the residents don’t care. This semi-remote town lies in one of the last untouched wildernesses in the country and its beauty is spectacular.
 
Humptulips, Washington
Pee Pee Township, Ohio

Pee Pee Township derives its name from… brace yourself… Pee Pee Creek. When founded in the 18th century, Pee Pee Settlement as it was then called, was predominantly populated by African-Americans.

The creek was named after a squatter and an early white settler to the area named Peter Patrick. Patrick came from Virginia where he later returned. Somehow along the was Peter Patrick got shortened to Pee Pee, and the name stuck.
 
Pee Pee Township, Ohio
No Name, Colorado

Located near No Name Canyon and No Name Creek, this town derived its name in the easiest fashion possible. Its history is as boring as its name. When a highway was being built a government employee needed to identify one of the exits so he simply called it No Name since there wasn’t anything there.

When a settlement developed they needed to come up with a name and decided No Name was as good as any, so they just went with it. No Name’s population is around 125 and the median age is 56 as opposed to the rest of Colorado which is 36.
 
No Name, Colorado
Zzyzx, California

Don’t even try to pronounce it. Can’t be done. In 1944, Curtis Howe Springer, a man of obvious unsound mind, claimed Zzyzx was the final word in the English language, and for reasons known only unto him, felt it an appropriate name for the area.

Today it’s a sparsely populated settlement on the California/Nevada border, and though it does have a zip code, to say it is in the middle of nowhere would be a gross understatement.
 
Zzyzx, California
Bucksnort, Tennessee

Bucksnort isn’t much of a town any longer but a sign on the highway still points toward it. The interstate leading into Nashville took all the business that used to drive through on the county road. All that remains is a gas station and a hotel but how this all but dead town got its name is worthy of an honorable mention.

The founder of the town was a man named Buck. Bucked liked his whiskey and when he was drunk he would laugh so hard he would snort. His drunken buddies found this humorous and would say things like, “Listen to Buck snort,” and the rest is history.
 
Bucksnort, Tennessee
Peculiar, Missouri

The original Postmaster of the town submitted documents to call the town “Excelsior.” He was told there was already a town with that name so he would have to choose something else. He applied again with different names but was repeatedly told the same thing.

He finally gave up, telling state officials this was all “too peculiar,” and told them to just name it whatever they wanted to. So they did. Peculiar is just to the south of Kansas City and has a population of 1,800.
 Peculiar, Missouri
Perhaps a tour of the weirdest named cities of America might be in order just to say you’ve been there. Can you imagine an RV plastered with bumper stickers from these places? And, if you live in one of these towns, you always have a conversation starter at the bar.
 

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