Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Strange, Odd, & 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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

King of Prussia, PA

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

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.