Special Report

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

Source: Matthew Rutledge / Flickr

16. Kermit, Texas
> Municipal status: City
> Population: 6,614

Having a famous and beloved father may get some people a city named after them. Kermit, a city of about 6,600 people in eastern Texas, was named after Theodore Roosevelt’s son, Kermit Roosevelt. Kermit Roosevelt was frequently hunting in the area. The city has a Kermit the Frog-decorated water tower.

Source: Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

17. Dry Prong, Louisiana
> Municipal status: Village
> Population: 502

A prong, which we usually think of as the tine of a fork or part of an electrical plug, can also be one arm of a forked river. This village most likely takes its name from a creek that powered the local sawmill most of the year but dried up every summer.

Source: Porkypinekiwi / Wikimedia Commons

18. Eek, Alaska
> Municipal status: City
> Population: 491

Eek’s name may suggest the sound a frightened person makes, but it’s actually an anglicized corruption of the locality’s Central Yup’ik name, Ekvicuaq — literally ˚little cliff.”

Source: Corey Taratuta / Wikimedia Commons

19. Embarrass, Wisconsin
> Municipal status: Village
> Population: 548

The French verb embarrasser can mean “to hamper,” “to stop,” or “to embangle [entangle].” The word is said to have been attached to this place by French-Canadian lumberjacks who found the nearby river almost impassable.

Source: Andrew Filer / Wikimedia Commons

20. Zap, North Dakota
> Municipal status: City
> Population: 157

One version of the history of the city’s name is accepted as true. The city had a coal mine at the edge of town, and the official in charge of naming new areas at the time knew of a town with coal mines in Scotland that was named Zapp. So it only made sense to him to name the city with the same name, dropping one “p” as a way of Americanizing it.