10 Weird City Names and Their Origins

When you grow up somewhere, you kind of become numb to all of the weird things that go on there, it’s natural. Bagged milk sounds weird to Americans, but it is perfectly normal in Canada. The same goes for the names of places around where you live (Looking at you, Piggly Wiggly). In America, there are cities like Chattanooga and Okeechobee that just sound silly to say and then there are cities like the ten you’ll read about on this list whose names make a lot less sense.

Intercourse, Pennsylvania

Intercourse, Pennsylvania

Intercourse, Pennsylvania is a real place in Lancaster County that has existed since 1814. It used to be called Cross Keys, and for some reason, Intercourse seemed to roll off the tongue a little bit better. One proposed reason for the name change has to do with a racetrack that existed just outside of the town that had a sign above it reading “Enter Course.” Locals referred to the town as such, and somehow that evolved into its current name.

Whynot, North Carolina

Whynot, North Carolina

Perhaps an answer to the western city of Why, Arizona, North Carolina features a town called Whynot. The town didn’t have a name back in 1860 before this one was adopted, so when the United States Postal Service expressed their plans to put an office in the area, the townspeople knew it was time to agree on a name. To make a long story short, they couldn’t. A man caught in the crossfire of people suggesting, “Why not this?” and “Why not that?” piped up and asked this pivotal question: “Why not name the town Whynot and let’s go home?”

Dinosaur, Colorado

Dinosaur, Colorado

The Dinosaur National Monument is a National Monument that exists on the border between Colorado and Utah. There are hiking trails, and the opportunity to check out tons of prehistoric fossils. In an attempt to capitalize on this interesting attraction, Artesia, Colorado changed its name to Dinosaur. Not only that, they left no stone unturned when they underwent this glorious transformation. There you will also find streets like Tyrannosaurus Trail, and more.

Two Egg, Florida

Two Egg, Florida

Two Egg sounds like the punchline to a bad joke, and like most cities in Florida, it probably is. To add to that, the website features anecdotal evidence of Bigfoot’s southern cousin the Two Egg Stump Jumper. The name comes from the town’s general store where two young men used to trade two eggs for a pack of sugar. It was colloquially referred to as the “two egg store” so often that the name stuck. Because that was the only thing of note in the town at that time, it also became Two Egg.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

In 1950, radio hosts were just as big the trolls that they are today, and that is how Truth or Consequences came to be. NBC Radio host Ralph Edwards publicized a dare to all American cities, he challenged them to change their name to that of his quiz show. Formerly Hot Spring, New Mexico, this town didn’t waste any time in signing on the dotted line. Of course, New Mexico is also home to cities like Candy Kitchen, and the ever-entertaining to pronounce Alamogordo. (That means “Fat Poplar”).

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, Indiana

Imagine for a moment, that you’ve just had a child and the doctor asks you for a name. You think about it and decide that Kate is the perfect fit only to be told, “Nope, taken. Try again.” So, you say Watermelon. We don’t know why you would do that, and we’re still not sure why this town decided to do that either. When the name Santa Fe was already spoken for, the town spent months agonizing over what to dub their lovely home. The last town meeting of 1854 was happening on Christmas Eve, and a gust of wind carried the sound of sleigh bells into the room. When the children cheered that Saint Nick was coming, the townspeople just decided to use that instead of putting in any real effort.

Cookietown, Oklahoma

Cookietown, Oklahoma

Cookietown is a small unincorporated community very close to the southern border of Oklahoma, in Cotton County. It boasts a robust population of… about six people. And there isn’t even a cookie factory. Do you feel cheated? On the bright side, the name did actually come from a story about cookies that seems like the opening for a cheesy holiday movie. A shop owner there was known for giving out cookies to younger patrons, and one of them exclaimed that he “didn’t want to leave Cookietown!”

Toad Suck, Arkansas

Toad Suck, Arkansas

Eau d’ sucre, chateau d’ sucré, and coté eau d’ sucre are all possibilities as to why this abomination of a name is still listed on a map. Former director of the Arkansas History Commision Dr. John Ferguson believes that this is just a bastardization of a French word because the first people to properly explore the area hailed from France. The most widely accepted reason in town is that boatmen used to spend their nights at the tavern “sucking on the bottle until they swelled up like toads.”

Hot Coffee, Mississippi

Hot Coffee, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama were both popular travel destinations in the late 1800’s. One smart man that lived in the midway point between these two destinations saw a great opportunity. An inn was established, and L.N. Davis built a general store and had a sign outside claiming that he had the best coffee around. He used spring water to brew New Orleans beans, then sweetened the drink with molasses drippings, and it was so good that the town has been named after it ever since.

Idiotville, Oregon

Idiotville, Oregon

You probably already know about Idiotville, you know, the place your boss lives? On a serious note, Idiotville, Oregon is almost a literal ghost town where only 34 people live. It’s about an hour Northwest of Portland and has pretty much retired from the “being a town” thing. Most of its residents back when it had them were employed at a nearby logging camp called Ryan’s Camp, that was reportedly so remote that “only an idiot would want to work and live there.” People called it Idiotville so much that it made its way on the map.

About The Author
Anne Velusa