Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hell, Michigan

Hell, MI – The story from Hell!

George Reeves established a community here in 1838. George also ran a whiskey still and got some of his neighbors in trouble. Their wives would often exclaim “their husbands had gone to Hell” (referring to George’s still) where they would hang out and drink with George. In 1841, the State of Michigan asked George what was going to be the name of his new town. George exclaimed “Call it Hell, everyone else does”. The name was accepted! Excessive drinking was a growing concern during the early growth of the United States. Often, people associated the drinking of any alcohol with a devilish behavior. The temperance movement became a prominent national movement by the end of the 19th century. Later, prohibition became the law in the early 20th century in the United States. By the way, it does get cold here in the winter and Hell does occasionally freeze over!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rabbit Hash, KY

Rabbit Hash, KY - The town acquired its name from the events of a major flood that happened in the area. The name came into existence in 1847. A huge flood ravished the settlement during this time. A large rabbit population retreated into this area from the rising waters and became the main food source for the citizens. There were so many rabbits that the local people created a special stew called “hash”. The dish became so popular that the community adopted the name of “Rabbit Hash”. The town was completely submerged in 1937 by another flood. Today, only the Rabbit Hash General Store stands in this community. I’m not sure about the rabbit population!
Rabbit Hash Recipe - FYI!

1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooked rabbit

1/3 cup of shortening

3 potatoes

3 onions

½ teaspoon of celery salt

½ teaspoon of salt

You should also know:
The town always elects an animal as its mayor.  Really!

½ teaspoon of pepper

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Liberal, KS - The town was founded in 1888.  Water was very scarce in the 1880’s but S.S. Rogers had dug a well on his homestead and offered free water to the visitors and their livestock who passed through the area.  This was unusual because water was not free.  The surprised visitors would comment to Rogers that “this was mighty liberal of you”.  The name caught on and was known to travelers as Liberal.  Kansas has always been considered a conservative state.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Road to Success!

Like thousands of other towns in the United States, this community reminds us of the spirit and perseverance of our ancestors.  Their main goal was to be successful in their lives and provide a great environment for future generations.  Many towns adopted names from adjectives or nouns describing their new hometown.  Mystic, Luck, Competition, Defiance, and Surprise are examples of this method for naming their new communities.  Speaking of the road to success, sometimes it was bumpy and full of dangerous curves for the early pioneers.  Sometimes when they finally arrived, there expectations were different than what they actually experienced.  Many communities did not survive.  However, we know of no communities by the name of failure!  You can always find “Success” in the states of Arkansas and New Hampshire.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Intercourse is just not the same today!

Intercourse, PA - The town was originally founded in 1754. It was known as Cross Keys after a tavern in the area. There are several unsubstantiated versions of the origin of the name “Intercourse”. Some say the name described the long entrance to an old race track east of town. This stretch of road was first known as the “Entercourse”. By 1814, the name evolved into Intercourse. Another explanation suggests that the name comes from two well known traveled roads that crossed in the middle of the town. Today, the town is a well-known Amish settlement. Again, it is amazing how meanings of some names have changed and how we view them today.

Photo - Courtesy of Library of Congress

Monday, August 23, 2010

Troll Capital of the World

Mount Horeb, WI

Troll Capital of the World

In the late 1800’s, more than 70% of the citizens living here were of Norwegian descent. Norwegian folklore has always told stories about trolls. Trolls are these ugly looking elf-like beings having only four fingers and a long crooked nose. It was thought they guarded treasures of diamonds and gold. The troll phenomenon in this community started back in the mid 1970’s. A local Scandinavian gift shop began displaying statues of trolls on their lawn to attract business. The trolls became so popular with the citizens that they went troll crazy. There are many troll businesses located on Mount Horeb’s Trollway.  PS. The Grumpy Troll Brew & Pub is a great place to eat and drink!