Unique & Unusual Place Names
When you travel do you wonder how some places got their names?
- Boring, Oregon
- Hopeulikit, Georgia
- Jot ‘Em Down, Texas
- Knockemstiff, Ohio
- Looneyville in MN, NY, TX & WV
- Nimrod, Minnesota
- Nothing, Arizona
- Rough and Ready, California
- What Cheer, Iowa
- Yazoo City, Mississippi
You have the unique to the unusual to the bizarre. You have the silly to the humorous to the wacky. Some place names have your mind heading straight south and into the gutter – ha!
Maybe you live in a place with a unique and unusual moniker!
IT Does Exist!
There is a Timbuctoo (Yuba County, California) in the United States!
A Historic Gold Mining Town today. It once was the largest town in eastern Yuba County that enjoyed its heyday in the 1850s due to hydraulic mining. Legend has it the town was named after Timbuktu in Mali.
The preservation of this town has not been a success. You can see the ruins of the Stewart Brothers Store/Wells Fargo Office. The Cemetery is still in use in this town.
Unique & Unusual
Nothing, Arizona (Mohave County) had four people who ran a gas stop and garage, which included rocks and minerals for sale and a small scrap heap. About 20 miles south of Wikieup (another unique town name), the rattlesnake capital of Arizona. The town was abandoned in 2005, tried to revive in 2008-09 and once again was abandoned in the Spring of 2011.
The Town Sign Reads . . .
Town of Nothing, Arizona. Founded 1977. Elevation 3269 ft.
“The staunch citizens of Nothing are full of Hope, Faith and Believe in the work ethic. Thru-the-years-these dedicated people had faith in Nothing, hoped for Nothing, worked at Nothing, for Nothing”.
Rough and Ready, California
Rough and Ready, California (Nevada County) is located west of Grass Valley, California and hosts a population of less than a 1,000.
The first settlement is this town was in the fall of 1849 by a mining company from Wisconsin known as the Rough and Ready Company. The company was named after General Taylor (nicknamed “Old Rough and Ready”) who had been elected the 12th President of the United States. The post office was established in 1851 and closed in 1855, 1913 and again from 1942-48.
Here is the interesting part of history for this town! Rough and Ready seceded itself from the Union and then voted itself back in. The town at the time was populated mostly by miners from Wisconsin. The secession was due to a new tax on new mining claims and the prohibition of alcohol. The town was also at odds with the U.S. Postal Service who wanted the town’s named changed to Rough or Ready. The town voted itself back in because the town wanted to celebrate Independence Day (no longer entitled when the town seceded from the Union).
Today you can see the Blacksmith Shop (1850s), the Odd Fellows Hall (1854) and the Old Toll House. The State of California honored the town as a Historic Landmark.
Nimrod, Minnesota (Wadena County). The town’s population of 69 makes it one of the smallest incorporated towns in Minnesota. Now do not get too excited here because the town is named after the Biblical Nimrod and not a person acting like a you know what – ha! Maybe that is how the saying got its start – who knows!
Knockemstiff, Ohio (Ross County). The town is also known as Glenn Shade or Shady Glenn. A Ghost Town that sits southwest of Chillicothe.
A town with multiple stories on how it got its unusual name. #1 Big brawl broke out in the town’s early days. #2 Wife goes to preacher and tells him that her husband is cheating on her. The preacher’s advice “Knock ’em stiff”. #3 A slang term for moonshining. #4 Title of a collection of short stories written by Ross County native, Donald Ray Pollock.
Weird & Bizarre
Yreka Zzyzx, California (San Bernardino County). This town was formerly known as Camp Soda or Soda Springs as well as the former site of the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa. Today it is the site of the Desert Studies Center, Lake Tuendae and a refuge habitat. To get a sense of direction this town is located about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. Basically in the middle of nowhere and probably a great place to get away from it all – ha!