There’s Greenville, Alaska and Greenville, Florida. Greenville, Maine and Greenville, Arizona — not to mention the 46 other communities in 43 other states that share the same name. Yep, across this great nation you’ll find plenty of repeats of place names — how many different Springfields can you think of? But for every Salem or Fairview across the nation, there are just as many places with unusual, odd, and funny names. Click through to check out some of them.
If you could rename your city or town, what would you call it? Tell us in the comments section!
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1. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
How can you convince a town to change its name? Well, in the case of Truth or Consequences, it’s by promising to broadcast a national radio show from there. Yep, that’s what happened to the town formerly known as Hot Springs, New Mexico in 1950. The radio show was, of course, Truth or Consequences, a popular quiz show that later aired on television. With the promise of national publicity and the ability to distinguish itself because of the unique name, the residents overwhelmingly voted to approve the name change.
2. Tightwad, Missouri
There are many theories about where Tightwad, Missouri got its name. The prevailing theory is that, in the early 1900s, a shopkeeper overcharged a postmaster for a watermelon. Angry about being cheated, he used his power as a postmaster to change the name of the village. Though it may be small, with a population of just 64, Tightwad does have its very own bank. It’s not just for residents of the village, though — around 30% of the accounts belong to people in other states that just like the name.
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3. Why, Arizona
Inquiring minds want to know: why oh why is Why called Why? Why, Why is located at the once Y-shaped intersection of two state highways. Area residents wanted to name Why “Y,” but, because place names needed to be at least 3 letters, went with “Why” instead. Located in a rural area just 30 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, Why is an unincorporated community of just about 116 residents.
Image Credit: Ken Lund via Flickr
4. Boring, Oregon
The city of Boring wants you all to know, though the name may suggest otherwise, Boring is, “a most exciting place to call home!” Located on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon, the city of Boring (population 8,000) was actually named after William H. Boring, an early resident.
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Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
5. Nameless, Tennessee
What’s in a name, anyway? Wouldn’t Nameless, Tennessee be just the same by any other name? This unincorporated town, about a two hour’s drive from Knoxville, has several conflicting stories about where its name (or lack thereof?) came from. One story goes that the town couldn’t decide on a name. Another, that the town forgot to fill out the name on their application to have a post office. Still another says that the town wanted to call itself Morgan, after the county’s attorney general. However, in the aftermath of the Civil War, the Post Office was weary about the attorney general being confused with Confederate Army General John Hunt Morgan. Because “Morgan” was rejected, the story goes, the town preferred to remain nameless.
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Image Credit: Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons
6. Hell, Michigan
Does Hell ever freeze over? Well, Hell, Michigan certainly does! No one is quite sure where this town got its devilish name. One thing is for sure, though — Hell, Michigan residents sure do embrace it! In Hell, you’ll find businesses like Hell in a Handbasket, a general store; Hell’s Kitchen, a restaurant; and Screams, an ice cream shop. Tourists can also play mini-golf, get married at the Hell chapel and even be the mayor for a day — all the more reason to go to Hell!
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7. Rough and Ready, California
You’ll find Rough and Ready in the heart of California Gold country. So where does the name come from? Well, the town was established by the Rough and Ready Company, a mining operation that in turn got its name from the nickname of then-president Zachary Taylor. The Postal Service actually demanded that the community pick either “Rough” or “Ready,” for its official name. The Postal Service’s request was part of the reason that the townspeople voted to secede from the United States and instead form the “Great Republic of Rough and Ready.” Though the town later opted to re-join the union, they did get to keep the name.