Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Horse Story from New York

Horseheads, NY - There is definitely a heart breaking horse story here. In 1779, American Revolutionary War hero, Major General John Sullivan was leading his army of 5,000 men and a large number of military pack horses through a 450 mile march back into in this area. He was now fighting the mighty Iroquois Indians and it was essential this equipment and his force of men return to confront this enemy. The military horses were so decimated from the journey the General ordered the horses be put out of their misery at the end of their journey. Years later, the few remaining Indians in the area used the skulls of these horses to mark the trail and scare off would be white visitors to the area. The early colonists were so outraged by this savage behavior they settled in this area and immediately started a community. They named their town Horseheads in honor of the fallen military horse heroes. Today, the area claims the largest memorial to the American Military Horse.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

San Juan Capistrano, CA

Father Junipero Serra started a mission here around 1775. He convinced a Spanish Captain that a settlement was needed between the long journeys from San Diego to San Gabriel. Father Serra named his new mission after Saint John of Capistrano, Italy. Shortly after, local Indians attacked the nearby settlement of San Diego. Father Serra quickly buried the Mission’s bells to secure them from an anticipated Indian attack. A year later, Father Serra dug up the bells and friendly Indians helped build his church and other buildings for the community. San Juan Capistrano is famous for the annual return of swallows. Legend has it the swallows were scared off by an innkeeper who hated these birds. The swallows were known for building mud nests. The innkeeper destroyed all of their nests and the swallows took refuge in the mission. October 23rd is San Juan Day. This is a holiday when the citizens celebrate the leaving of the swallows. The swallows return around March 19th. During this time, the mission rings its bells and many visitors and local residents gather to celebrate their return.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Towns named from new found freedoms

Amerigo Vespucci – Way to go Amerigo!

In 1497, Amerigo Vespucci discovered a new continent when he landed in present day South America. During this time, map makers were trying to decide on a new name for Vespucci’s continent. Famous German map maker, Martin Waldseemuller, created a map signifying this new continent as “America” in honor of Amerigo Vespucci. The map maker chose the Latin version of Amerigo because he wanted to have the new name of the continent end in an “a” similar to other continents like Africa and Asia. The name “America” and other derivatives of Amerigo caught on and became very popular in the naming of the “New World”. Names like Americus, Liberty and Independence followed and became synonymous with the spirit of freedom being found in this new land.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Waverly - Many towns honor Sir Walter

Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott was a Scotsman born in 1771. Sir Walter is known as the father of the romantic novel. He started his literary career at the age of 25. He is considered to be one of the first true international authors. He became popular throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States. His novel “Waverley” was a sensational success and he followed with a series of other books on this topic. His books were so popular that many towns in the United States are named after his titles or characters. Scott always considered himself as a poet and would publish his novels using the name “Author of Waverley”. However, by 1825, it became common knowledge that Sir Walter was the true author of these works. It was at this time that Sir Walter fell into bankruptcy. His royalties paid all of his debts after his death in 1832.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bellefontaine Neighbors

In the early 1800's, land ownership to settlers in this area was made from land grants by French, Spanish, and American officials. Fort Bellefontaine was nearby and they were all neighbors. So why not name the new town, Bellefontaine Neighbors?

Ghostly remains of Fort Bellefontaine
The fort was established in 1805. It was the first military post west of the Mississippi. Located near St. Louis, Fort Bellefontaine became a major starting point for many westward expeditions. Zebulon Pike started his famous trek west here. Lewis and Clark ended returned here from their “Corps of Discovery” expedition. Due to the ever changing course of the Mississippi River, the Fort became flooded and fell into disrepair. In 1904, over 30 bodies were excavated at the present day site. Many of these victims were assumed to be former soldiers and family members that lived here in the early 1800’s. Today the site is noted for its ghost stories. Tourists and visitors report that when they take photographs of the area, a mysterious red smoke appear on their pictures. Legend has it that the red smoke appearing on these pictures are from the souls of the soldiers from the past. .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Neptune City Swallowed Up by Another Community!

As the United States grew so did the imagination of our ancestors with the names of their new communities. In 1881, the citizens in this community chose a Greek god for their town’s name. The town is located near the Atlantic Ocean and much of the economy at the time was based upon the ocean traffic. Neptune being the Greek god of the ocean seemed to be a logical choice. During this period, it was not unusual for towns to be named after mythical gods or legends. Other communities used names like Hercules, Venus, Jupiter and even Mars as names. Neptune City grew tremendously in land area. In 1900, the New Jersey legislature annexed much of the city and created a new township. Oddly enough, the town that swallowed up the land from Neptune City was named “Avon by the Sea”! The name “Avon” is a Welsh term meaning “river”.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tuxedo, New York and the Tuxedo Suit

In 1886, Pierre Lorillard IV built an exclusive country club here. He named it the “Tuxedo Club”. It was a private country club and only exclusive socialites were included in its membership. One of its members was wealthy millionaire, James Potter. Potter was friends with Edward VII of England, the Prince of Wales. The Prince fancied Potter’s wife, Cora, and invited both of them to come visit him in England. Potter was impressed with Edward’s smoking jacket. The Prince replied that it was manufactured by the Henry Poole Company in England and that the company had exclusively designed it for him. Potter liked the Prince’s suit so well that he had a duplicate made. When Potter returned to his hometown to show it off, his wealthy friends at the Tuxedo County Club were ecstatic. It was such a hit that all of the country club members started sporting this new fashion in apparel and the tuxedo became the popular attire for the club’s social events. Later, other wealthy American socialites joined in on the new fashion. However, no one knows for sure how impressed Cora Potter was with the Prince of Wale’s tuxedo. I guess only the Prince and Cora know!
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dubuque, Iowa

Julian Dubuque was a French Canadian fur trapper that moved to this area around 1785. He became great friends with the local Fox Indians who lived here at the time. In 1788, he asked Chief Poesta if he could mine their land. The Chief agreed and Dubuque began operations and started to build his town. He also got permission to mine from Spain who also laid claim to this land. There is evidence he eventually married the Chief’s daughter. Dubuque along with his Fox friends built a thriving mining and trapping business during the next years. Dubuque was determined to preserve his Indian friend’s heritage. Later, the United States Government made him an Indian agent. When Dubuque died in 1810, the Fox Indians built a memorable for him on the bluff overlooking his community. Later, a stone monument replaced the structure and still stands today as a memorial to the city’s founding father.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chicken, Alaska - Are you kidding me?

Ptarmigans are medium sized game birds found in Alaska and other parts of North America. The name ptarmigan is pronounced as “tar-mi-gan”. They are often called snow chickens and are related to the grouse family of birds. The birds love to live in the upper elevations of mountains. The ptarmigan changes the color of its feathers according to the season. In the summer, they are brown and during the winter their feathers turn pure white. They feed on various types of vegetation including leaves, flowers, seeds, and berries. The town of Ptarmigan, Alaska changed its name to “Chicken” to avoid confusion of the spelling and the pronunciation of Ptarmigan. Later, Alaska claimed the ptarmigan as the state bird. Through time, it is funny how a certain word honoring an animal or place can change into a different meaning to us today.
Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Peculiar, Missouri?

Yes, this community does exist! Located just south of Kansas City, the name of this town is surrounded in legend. Some believe a spiritualist having a peculiar vision of this area named the town after his experience. The vision came about when the spiritualist had a dream. The next day he reported his vision to the community leaders and they agreed on his suggestion for the town’s name. Others believe the name came from a frustrated postmaster in town. This particular postmaster kept submitting names to the Post Office. The Post Office kept rejecting his requests due to duplicate names. The Post Office did not like to see duplicate names of communities in the same state. After many rejections, the Post Office suggested that he should “choose a name that is peculiar”. The postmaster of this community was so frustrated that he sent in the name of “Peculiar” for approval. Oddly enough, the Post Office accepted the name and the community became known as “Peculiar”! Whatever explanation you accept, the community still has fun with its name. The sign above is what you will see when you get there.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Take Your Licks

We often find funny names of towns with the word “lick” in them. It was often common to name a new town with the natural resources that were found in the area. Rich deposits of minerals like gold, silver, and iron were common sources used for choosing the name of a new town. In the case, of Licking, Missouri, rich deposits of salt were found in this area. These larges deposits of salt were known as “licks”. Salt was a valuable resource for the early settlers. Salt was highly valued as a supplementary part of human and also for the diets of wildlife. Salt was a luxury to our ancestors. Before the 1900’s, many economies and wars were predicated on this natural resource. For the early pioneers in America they didn’t hesitate to add “lick” as part of their new towns name. Towns like Licking, Missouri and French Lick, Indiana are prime examples. Today, we often chuckle over these types of names. Our perceptions of these place names are misconstrued because of our lack of knowledge of the history behind the name. The value of salt was highly sought after by our ancestors and they did not hesitate to boast the resources their town possessed and the economic growth that would make them flourish.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Choo Choo - Chattanooga, TN

The Indian word “Chattanooga” means “rock rising to a point”. Many of our towns were named using the Native American’s language. Often, one Indian word could describe many words used by the European settlers. Our ancestors found many of the Indian words very romantic. Chattanooga, TN is a perfect example of this method in naming our towns and cities. Here is a view of “Lookout Mountain”, definitely a “rock rising to a point”. The tradition of using the Native American’s language to describe their new community started early in America. Many northeastern towns from New York to Florida were named in this manner. The tradition continued across the United States to the west coast. Every state has a town that was named from a Native American word or phrase. Nearly half of our states have used this method for their own names. It is ironic how the United States used the American Native’s language but did very little to uphold their existence and rights.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jenny Lind, CA & Lind,Wisconsin

Jenny Lind was never an American citizen but she made such a memorable impression that both of these communities were named in her honor. Jenny Lind was a famous European opera singer who came to the United States in 1850 to do a two year tour. P.T. Barnum was her promoter and both enjoyed tremendous success to her standing room only performances. Jenny was known as the “Swedish Nightingale” and her ability to hit high F sharps drew crowds of people to her 91 American performances. When she arrived in America, there were over 40,000 people waiting to see a glimpse of her coming off the ship. It is reported that she made over 250,000 dollars while P.T. Barnum probably made 3 times as much. Unlike Barnum, Jenny Lind gave much of her fortunes to charities. She was well known for her philanthropy of funding many schools, hospitals and churches. Today, you can still find American streets named after her and the Jenny Lind beds and cribs are still popular pieces of furniture.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kate Claxton - Super Star of the late 1800's

Claxton, GA - Before radio, the movies, and television, there was actress Kate Claxton. Her real name was Kate Cone and she was born in 1848. Kate’s career began in Chicago in 1871. In 1873, she starred in a play by the name of “Led Astray” and immediately became a sensation. Her most notable role was Louise in “The Two Orphans”. Kate was a savvy business woman and purchased the rights to this play. She also started her own company and starred as the headline during the rest of her career. In 1876, while performing at the Brooklyn Theatre, a fire broke out and over 200 people perished. A few months later another fire broke out in her St. Louis hotel room. The press published articles about Kate being bad luck. Most careers would be devastated. However, Kate turned the negatives into positives. She became even more famous as people would come see her for the curiosity and intrigue. Kate continued to be successful and became wealthy. She lived happily till her death in 1924. This community was named in her honor.
Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

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, June 23, 2008

Nothing "Ordinary" about Virginia!

Ordinary, Virginia

By 1668, ordinaries were so common in Virginia that laws were being established to limit how many could operate in a town or village. Although an ordinary was defined as a combination of a general store and an inn, they were really popular places for patrons to drink beer and ale. By the early 1700’s, the word “ordinary” was rarely used. These places were now known as taverns. Ordinary, was chosen as the name for this Virginia community because of its tradition of having so many ordinaries or taverns located in the area. Again, an ordinary name has changed in meaning to us after many years of transition.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Monday, June 16, 2008

Richard (Silver Dick) Bland

Bland, Missouri

In 1872, Richard Bland was elected to the U.S. Congress. He was elected a total of 11 times and was a major force for the silver mining industry. In 1873, the Fourth Coinage Act was passed. This made gold the only metal that backed the currency of the United States. This devastated the miners in the silver industry and the country sank into a depression. Bland fought vigorously for the silver industry. In 1878, he sponsored the Bland-Allison Act. This law required the U.S. Government to purchase silver for coinage and this greatly helped the mining industry. He was given the nickname “Silver Dick” for this achievement. He continued throughout his Missouri political career to fight for the success of the silver industry and the rights of the common man.

The people of this community were so proud of his accomplishments that they named their new town in his honor. As you enter the town today, a billboard welcomes you to the home of "Silver Dick" Bland. Pretty spicey stuff if you ask me!
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rabbit Hash, Kentucky

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
½ teaspoon of pepper

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chief Seathl or Did You Say – Seattle?

Seattle, Washington

Seathl was a mighty warrior of the Duwamish Indian Tribe which was located in the area which is now Seattle. He became a chief in the tribe and remained peaceful throughout his life. In 1852, Doc Maynard purchased land in the area and established a general store. Since his store was the only one, Maynard’s business flourished. As the community grew, fear of local Indian attacks grew. To stave off appending attack, Maynard made a deal with Chief Seattle. He would name his town “Seattle” in honor of the chief. At the time, the community was known as “DuWamps”. Chief Seattle agreed and local Indian attacks began to be less of a threat. However, Chief Seattle demanded monthly payments from the town for compensation. The local Duwamish Indians believed that the soul of the chief after his death would be disturbed in the after life whenever the name “Seattle” was spoken.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Still great pies in Pie Town, New Mexico!

Clyde Norman came to this area in 1922 to open up a mine. To keep his mining efforts alive, Clyde opened up a gas station to supplement his income. Clyde was a great pie maker and started to sell his pies out of the gas station business. His pies became so popular with the customers many of the locals who lived in the area referred to his stop as “Pie Town’. Clyde teamed up with a local cowboy, Harmon Craig, in 1923. Harmon added his famous chili to the menu and now the gas station was also a restaurant. Clyde sold out his part of the business to Harmon in 1924. Harmon’s wife and daughters kept the pies famous and the customers kept coming. In 1927, a post office was added and “Pie Town” became an official town. The town still exists and is located about 160 miles southwest of Albuquerque. The town is small but you can still get a great piece of pie. Every Semptember, the citizens celebrate the “Annual Pie Town Festival”.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Toad Suck, Arkansas - It does exist, REALLY!

Located on the Arkansas River, Toad Suck claims one of the most unique legends. Way back when, this is where the river captains and their crews chose to relax. Along with the river traffic came many questionable characters. Drinking was often the recreation for both the staff of the river industry and the shady people who hung out in this area. Early settlers in this area observed the excessive drinking going on in this area and named the drinking patrons as “Toad Sucks”. They exclaimed that “these people sucked on their whiskey and swelled up like toads”! The area became known as “Toad Suck”. Today, a state park is nearby and many of the locals in the area come here during weekends to picnic and go fishing. You will also find a local convenience store nearby with some very unique “Toad Suck” merchandise!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Marked Tree, Arkansas

In 1883, the railroad built a track through this area. The community was known as “Edwards” in honor of Jonathan Edwards, head of the railroad crew. When Edwards and the railroad crew moved on,left with the train, he told the citizens to rename the town. The people decided on “Marked Tree” because of a famous legend. The legend starts with the Indians who lived here before the white man. The Osage and Cherokee Indians marked a giant oak tree in this area for transportation purposes to navigate up and down the nearby rivers. In the early 1800’s, the infamous Murrell Outlaw Gang marked the same tree with an “M” for rendezvous purposes. So in 1883, the town was named after this giant oak tree. Later in 1890, the giant tree was swept away by a huge flood that devastated the area. However, in 1979 during a construction project a well preserved giant oak tree was excavated which was believed to be the famous tree. The town also claims to be the only community in the world with the name “Marked Tree” and the only town where two rivers run in different directions! Just in case you are curious, the two rivers are the Saint Francis and the Little. I have been here and the rivers actually run in opposite directions.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

There are a lot of legends surrounding this name. The town was originally known as Reeseville. Some say the town was named for King Frederick of Prussia who was a supporter for the American Colonies during the Revolutionary War. Another legend says a local tavern and inn owner from Reeseville by the name of Jimmy Berry named the town. During the Revolutionary War, Berry was a British sympathizer but a shrewd businessman. When Berry heard there were wealthy Prussian troops with George Washington at Valley Forge, he hung a “King of Prussia” sign out on his establishment welcoming the Prussians to come and spend their money with him. The innn became known as the King of Prussia Inn located in Reeseville. Later, early surveyors mistakenly looked at the large sign on the inn and recorded “King of Prussia” as the name of the town instead of Reeseville.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bowlegs, Oklahoma is OK!

Bolek, also known as Billy Bowlegs, was a fierce Seminole Chief from Florida. After signing a treaty in 1832, Bowlegs and his 200 warriors were peaceful until his fellow Seminole Chief Osceola was wrongfully imprisoned. Chief Bowlegs and his warriors led many successful raids against the U.S. Military. Finally in 1858, the government convinced Chief Bowlegs to relocate to the new Indian Territory in Oklahoma. He was given $10,000 dollars and each of his followers received $1,000. Here he became a prominent chief to his people and was once again peaceful. During the Civil War, he became a captain in the Union Army and was instrumental to the success in this region against the Confederacy. In 1864, the famous chief died of smallpox.
Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Swallows of San Juan Capistrano, CA

Father Junipero Serra started a mission here around 1775. He convinced a Spanish Captain that a settlement was needed between the long journeys from San Diego to San Gabriel. Father Serra named his new mission after Saint John of Capistrano, Italy. Shortly after, local Indians attacked the nearby settlement of San Diego. Father Serra quickly buried the Mission’s bells to secure them from an anticipated Indian attack. A year later, Father Serra dug up the bells and friendly Indians helped build his church and other buildings for the community. San Juan Capistrano is famous for the annual return of swallows. Legend has it, that the swallows were scared off by an innkeeper who hated these birds. The swallows were known for building muddy nests. The innkeeper destroyed all of their nests and the swallows took refuge in the mission. October 23rd is San Juan Day. This is a holiday where the citizens celebrate the leaving of the swallows. The swallows return around March 19th. During this time the mission rings its bells and many visitors and local residents gather to celebrate their return.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Monday, March 31, 2008

Nicodemus, Kansas

In 1877, Reverend W. H. Smith and 300 former slaves established this community. The town started out without any buildings and the citizens lived in dugouts on the Kansas prairie. The community recruited many former slaves from Kentucky and the town was thriving by 1885. During this time, the town consisted of three general stores, one bank, two newspapers, three churches, and numerous houses. The railroads never came and the town did not prosper. Like so many towns in the 1800’s the railroad was vital to a new town’s success. Today, the town still remains as a testament to the spirit and achievements of African-American culture. On the last weekend of July the town celebrates “Homecoming”. Many former citizens and descendants come to celebrate from near and far. Nicodemus has also become a National Historic Site.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Place Where the Frogs Started Jumping!

Hotel Angels - Angels Camp, California

According to legend, Mark Twain spent a few days here around 1865. During a drinking session, Ben Coon, the bartender, told Twain of a story about a jumping frog here in Calaveras County. Mark Twain elaborated on the information and published another one of his famous books “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”. The town became famous from this Mark Twain story. Twain tells of a gold rush town named Angels Camp with a frog jumping contest. Today, the community lives up to its name. Since 1928, the community hosts the Annual Frog Jumping Contest.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Story from Hell, Michigan

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 that 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 in the early growth of the United States. Often, people associated the drinking of any alcohol as a devilish behavior. The temperance movement became a prominent national movement by the end of the 19th century. By the way, it does get cold here in the winter and Hell does occasionally freeze over!

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Savage, Minnesota - Where is Hollywood?

The town of Savage, Minnesota was named in honor of Marion Savage. Who was Marion Savage? Marion Savage was a great horse breeder and acquired a promising harness racing horse by the name of Dan Patch in the late 1800’s. Marion loved this horse and experienced great success in one of America’s most popular sports at the time, harness racing. Dan Patch was never defeated in any of his races. During the 1906 Minnesota State Fair, Dan Patch broke the world record of 1:56. There were over 90,000 spectators in the grandstand that day! Savage was a great promoter and the horse became a legend. Savage was one of the first people to promote an animal with consumer and livestock products. In the early 1900’s you could find Dan Patch pocket watches, tobacco and livestock products everywhere. Savage and his great horse went on to become American idols long before other race horses like Man O War or Sea Biscuit. In 1916, Dan Patch’s heart stopped suddenly and the horse died. Thirty two hours later after his favorite horse had expired, Marion Savage died from a heart attack. Where is Hollywood?

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Truth about the name of your hometown

The stories reported on this blog about how a town acquired its name is like writing about American history. It depends upon who is writing it. We try to base our information on historical facts, personal accounts and sometimes legend. From this information, we try to come up with a reasonable conclusion. This site is a work in progress and your opinions and additional information are encouraged. They could also change our opinion. Our goal is to exchange information and have fun! If you contact Joe at, he can tell you 4 or 5 different versions behind his hometown.

Keep up those comments!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Railroads Made Enon, MO go Backwards

Back in the 1800's, the railroads had a lot of power. When the tracks were being built, the railroad officials would post signs with the name of the community nearby. If a small community or village had not chosen a name, the railroad officials would post a sign "NONE" - meaning the community had no name. Well, when it became time for this tiny town in Missouri to choose its name, the citizens could not agree on a particular name. After much debate, the citizens decided to take the sign the railroad officials used (NONE) and reverse the spelling. Yes, in the end this community chose ENON! Enon, Missouri is located Southeast of Columbia, Missouri.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How Monkey's Eyebrow Really Got Its Name

Monkeys Eyebrow, KY has always been a mystery to me. After a lot of research, I have found that the name occurred from a legend. According to the legend, if you look down upon this area it looks like a monkey’s eyebrow. Okay, but what does a monkey’s eyebrow look like? I had visited the area last year to obtain further enlightenment. The town is located on a long eyebrow curve. I couldn’t find any mountains nearby so I couldn't look down on the town. After arriving home from my trip, I was still puzzled. Then one day I got an email from Joe! Joe has a farm at Monkey’s Eyebrow. Joe told me that the legend is correct but you need to take out your map and then look down at the town. I didn’t really get it until I looked closely at the map and then it hit me. Joe was right! The town is located next to the Ohio River. The way this river twists through this region it takes the shape of a monkeys face. And if monkeys do have eyebrows the location of the town is where an eyebrow should be. Take a look for yourself! Thanks Joe, I have slept much better after our conversation.
Anyway, there isn’t much left of the town but Joe’s farm is still there. But there is still one mystery left about the name of this town. Often Monkey’s Eyebrow is spelled without an apostrophe. Not to lose any more sleep, Joe and I have decided that back then maybe punctuation wasn’t such a big priority.

By the way, Joe has a great web site that you need to check out. Thanks again Joe!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Strange and Fascinating Information Revealed About Your Hometown!

I'm the guy who has to stop along the highway to check out all those historical markers. In doing so for the last twenty years, I have started a habit of finding out how towns acquired their names. Living in the Midwest, I could never resist finding out how a town like Peculiar, MO or Liberal, KS ever got a name like that! This has been a work in progress and I invite anyone out there to contribute to the cause. I will be sharing stories of these names of America's towns and cities throughout this blog and welcome your stories.
By the way, I have always lived in Independence (Missouri that is) most of my life. Independence has always been about 27 miles north of Peculiar, 247 miles right of Liberal, and only 77 miles south of Tightwad! Just wanted to get your compass adjusted!