Special Report

43 of the Strangest Town Names in America


Bear, Delaware
> Municipal status: Census designated place
> Population: 21,362

A Colonial-era tavern called The Bear, located somewhere in the area, lent its name to this community. George Washington is said to have stopped at the tavern, which shut down in 1845 and was later torn down. Its name survived on the local railroad station and then the post office.

Source: KenWiedemann / Getty Images

Bird-in-hand, Pennsylvania
> Municipal status: Census designated place
> Population: 508

A popular theory about Bird-in-Hand’s name origin has to do with inns. In the early 18th century, the people visiting the area spoke various languages, so locals named their inns after images everyone could understand. One such image was a hand holding a bird. At the time, communities that grew around inns often took the name of the inn because it was the most recognizable place in the area.

Boring, Oregon
> Municipal status: Unincorporated
> Population: 8,000

Stifle that yawn. The community of Boring — originally Boring Junction — was named for Civil War veteran William Harrison Boring, who donated the land for its first schoolhouse and lent his name to the local hotel and Grange chapter, among other things.

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