Special Report

50 Strangest Town Names in America (and Where They Came From)

There are no rules for naming towns. Some are christened, reasonably enough, after their founders or early patrons. Others are named for monarchs or political figures, or for saints — for instance, St. Louis and St. Petersburg, Florida. (Such names in the West often take the Spanish form, as in San Francisco or Santa Monica.) Other places have monikers, saintly or otherwise, based on French, German, Scandinavian languages, or various other tongues.

Some town names reflect their geographical situations or nearby features or reference places their settlers or early residents left behind. Some, though, are just made up. These often have intricate, sometimes amusing, sometimes unlikely origin stories. And these are usually the funniest, most unlikely, or just plain strangest ones.

What makes a town name strange? That’s a matter of opinion, of course. Residents of some places brag or joke about what they’re called; others dispute or deny the etymologies. That’s their right. We don’t offer this list to make fun of any place name. We just enjoy the unexpected, and we’re pretty confident that these are all town names that will make you think twice.

Click here to see the 50 strangest town names in America.
Click here to see our full methodology.

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