Friday, July 24, 2009

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!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

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.