Special Report

43 of the Strangest Town Names in America

Cal-Nev-Ari, Nevada
> Municipal status: Census designated place
> Population: 119

This site was originally known as Stage Field and was an airfield for World War II army training center Camp Ibis. After the camp was closed, an airport operator, Slim Kidwell, flew over the area and thought it had development possibilities. He and his wife, Nancy, took possession of the property in 1965, naming it in recognition of its home state and its proximity to the California and Arizona borders. They built an airstrip, casino, motel, restaurant, and bar, among other features.

Chunky, Mississippi
> Municipal status: Town
> Population: 415

Chunkyville was village established before 1848 on the site of a former Choctaw settlement called Chanki Chitto. In 1861, after it was announced that planned railroad tracks would pass several miles north of the village, most of its citizens moved close to where it would pass and called their new town simply Chunky.

Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Qui-nai-elt Village, Washington
> Municipal status: Census-designated place
> Population: 59

The community of Qui-nai-elt is located in the southwestern part of the Quinault Indian Nation, roughly 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean. About 97% of the area’s population identifies as Native American. The name “Quinault” has been anglicized from “kʷínayɬ,” which was the name of a village on the Quinault River, now called Taholah.


Cucumber, West Virginia
> Municipal status: Census designated place
> Population: 65

This community takes its name not from the familiar vegetable, but either from the so-called cucumber tree (sometimes written cucumbertree), Magnolia acuminata, which grows in the region, or from Cucumber Creek — itself likely named for the tree.

Cut and Shoot, Texas
> Municipal status: City
> Population: 1,313

Local legend has it that the name of this city derives from a disagreement in 1912 at the local church, with churchgoers arguing over land claims, or steeple design, or who the preacher should be. Whatever the source of the dispute, a small boy at the scene is said to have announced his annoyance with the goings-on by saying “I’m going to cut around the corner and shoot through the bushes in a minute.” Exactly when locals decided to name their settlement after the statement is not recorded.

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