The sheer size and scope of the United States is an intimidating thing. Less intimidating are the unusual, creative–or downright odd–names given to some of our fair cities. Here is a top 5 list of unusual names which have been bestowed upon some of our favorite unsuspecting locations:
- Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Originally founded in 1754 with the name Cross Keys, the village became Intercourse, Pennsylvania in 1814. The rather passionate name was most likely selected because, in 1814, ‘intercourse’ used to describe the fellowship and support found within a community of faith.
- North Pole, Alaska. The Alaskan North Pole began life as a homestead for Bon V. and Bernice Davis in 1944. The homestead (which had been known, simply, as Davis) had been purchased in 1952, subdivided–and subsequently rechristened–North Pole. The company which purchased the homestead had hoped that the new name would attract a toy manufacturer to the area. The toy manufacturer never materialized, but the small city now offers year ’round delights such as Santa Claus House, candy cane striped street lamps, Christmas inspired street names, Christmas decorations . . . and a post office that is kept exceptionally busy during each bustling Christmas season.
- Lizard Lick, North Carolina. The middle entry of our top 5 list is the unincorporated community of Lizard Lick. Lizard Lick is located approximately twenty miles east of North Carolina’s capitol, Raleigh. According to North Carolina historian William S. Powell, the community was given the name by way of a “passing observer who saw many lizards sunning and licking themselves on a rail fence.” Lizard Lick achieved near celebrity status in 1998 when Nintendo selected the town as the site for the launch of Yoshi’s new Nintendo 64 game “Yoshi’s Story.” Yoshi, rather fittingly, is a dinosaur with an incredibly long tongue.
- Romance, Arkansas. For those wondering if romance is, indeed, alive and well . . . it can be mentioned that the unincorporated community of Romance is located just south of Rose Bud, Arkansas. Local legend states that Romance was long ago named by a teacher who found the views of the community romantic. The United States Postal Service’s “Love Stamp” was first issued in Romance, Arkansas in 1990. Romance’s post office is very popular for the postmarking of cards for Valentine’s Day as well as for sending wedding invitations.
- Rough and Ready, California. Rounding out our top 5 list of names is Rough and Ready. Rough and Ready is a census-designated place in Nevada County, California. Rough and Ready is located west of Grass Valley. The original settlement was named after a mining company (the Rough and Ready Company) which had been named after President Zachary Taylor (who had the nickname “Old Rough and Ready”). Rough and Ready’s claim to fame is that it has the distinction of being the only mining town to ever secede from the Union . . . only to rescind that secession less than 3 months, later.
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