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boffking
08-11-2014, 11:54 AM
I am wondering what places you know of that look like they are named after something/someone famous, but were actually named after something else. For example Lincoln County, ME got its name 50 years before Honest Abe was born. It was named after a town in England.

Colibri
08-11-2014, 12:01 PM
The various cities in the US called Alexandria are not named after the city in Egypt (and hence the very famous Alexander the Great), as one might assume, but much more obscure individuals with either the first name or last name of Alexander.

bob++
08-11-2014, 12:11 PM
Here is an amusing list of Americanised place names:http://mentalfloss.com/article/50967/20-towns-named-other-towns-pronounced-differently

eg "Texas has a town named for the whole country of Italy. Itly. Just two syllables."

Chronos
08-11-2014, 02:35 PM
Cleveland, OH is a sort of in-between case: The city is named after Moses Cleaveland, who was one of the first settlers, but the spelling "Cleveland" became popular because of President Grover Cleveland.

snowthx
08-11-2014, 02:44 PM
King County, Washington was originally named for the Vice President Elect under Franklin Pierce, William Rufus DeVane King. In 1986 the county was renamed for Dr. Martin Luther King.

CalMeacham
08-11-2014, 02:44 PM
St. George Utah isn't named after the guy who killed the dragon, but after George A. Smith, a nephew of Joseph Smith who started the LDS church. The Mormons, were, after all, the Latter Day Saints.

Southern Yankee
08-11-2014, 02:59 PM
Intercourse, PA. Stupid crossroads (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercourse,_Pennsylvania)...

johnspartan
08-11-2014, 03:12 PM
Canary Islands are named after an animal, but not the canary. They're (likely) Canariae Insulae, or Isle of Dogs.

While it is a bridge (and an outer one at that), the Outerbridge in NYC is named after Eugene Outerbridge.

DrCube
08-11-2014, 03:12 PM
Augie Busch wanted to name the stadium he built for the St. Louis Cardinals "Budweiser Stadium", but at the time (early 1950s), Major League Baseball was opposed to naming stadiums after alcoholic beverages. So he named it Busch Stadium instead, after himself.

Then the very next year his brewery introduced their new Busch beer. :)

John Mace
08-11-2014, 03:13 PM
Oakland, CA actually was named after Oak Trees, as it was originally a huge Oak woodland. But you'd never know it today! There isn't a single oak tree left from pre-settlement times.

Los Angeles wasn't really named after "The Angels", as it's actual full name was "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula". So it was actually named after Mary, Queen of the Angels. Later, shortened to just: Los Angeles.

cochrane
08-11-2014, 03:19 PM
Intercourse, PA. Stupid crossroads (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercourse,_Pennsylvania)...

You know what they say:

"The road from Blue Ball (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Blue_Ball%2C_Pennsylvania) to Paradise (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Paradise%2C_Pennsylvania) runs through Intercourse!" :D

Joey P
08-11-2014, 03:22 PM
New Berlin, WI. Not named after the city in Germany but rather after the city of the same name (New Berlin) in New York.

Also, it's pronounced differently than than Berlin, Germany. The other syllable is stressed. I don't know how they say it in NY though.

scr4
08-11-2014, 03:29 PM
Arab, Alabama was named after a guy named Arad Thompson and then misspelled by the US Postal Service.

Ike Witt
08-11-2014, 03:39 PM
Dildo, Newfoundland is not named for a sex toy but for a thing to do with boats.

CalMeacham
08-11-2014, 03:46 PM
Dildo, Newfoundland is not named for a sex toy but for a thing to do with boats.

You know, when you put it that way, it still sounds dirty.

BrotherCadfael
08-11-2014, 03:50 PM
Canary Islands are named after an animal, but not the canary. They're (likely) Canariae Insulae, or Isle of Dogs.The bird is named after the island, not the other way around.

Sherrerd
08-11-2014, 03:59 PM
There may be present-day confusion over Islamorada, an incorporated village in the Florida Keys. In years past it might have been clearer that this was Spanish ("isla" being island and "morada" being dwelling).

With the word Islam being in the US news more than it used to be, some may misread the place name as having something to do with, well, Islam.

TroutMan
08-11-2014, 04:06 PM
Rooster Rock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooster_Rock_State_Park) in Oregon wasn't named after Foghorn Leghorn. It was originally called Cock Rock because of its phallic appearance, then renamed Rooster Rock to be less offensive.

Flywheel
08-11-2014, 04:18 PM
New York City's Union Square has nothing to do with labor unions or the Union Army - it's named for the junction, or "union," of Fourth Avenue and Broadway.

Chefguy
08-11-2014, 05:15 PM
Many people think that Hubbard Glacier in Alaska was named after Bernard Hubbard, SJ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_R._Hubbard), who was a well-known explorer in Alaska in the first third of the 20th century, and who popularized the territory through books, film and lecture (his books are excellent, by the way). In fact, it was named after Gardiner G. Hubbard who was the founder and first president of the National Geographic Society.

jtur88
08-11-2014, 05:15 PM
Bastrop, Louisiana, was named after a Dutch con man, who swindled everybody in sight on a land deal. He was run out of Louisiana, and went to Texas, and did the same thing there, and sure enough, Bastrop, Texas is named after him too.

Lincoln County Maine, was named after a man who was already dead beforeo President Lincoln was born. He was an ornithologist, too, and Audubon named a species of sparrow after him.

jtur88
08-11-2014, 05:46 PM
Victoria is the only name borne by a city in Canada, Mexico and the USA. The one in Canada was named after the Queen, but the ones in Texas and Mexico were named for the first president of Mexico, Guadalupe Victoria.

Cabool, Missouri, was named by a worker on the railroad being built through the area, because the country around there reminded him of what is now spelled Kabul, Afghanistan, where he had also worked on the railroad that was being constructed by the British through that country. Nearby Texas County, Missouri, was formed and named a few months before the state of Texas was admitted to the union, so it was the first place named Texas in the USA.

Very few counties in the USA are named after non-royal women, but two of them are interesting in their own right. One of them, Dare County NC, was named after Virginia Dare, a girl who died in infancy, but was the first child born in America of English parents. Louisa County, Iowa, was named for Louisa Massey, who avenged the murder of her brother by killing the suspect. One of the few named for someone who was technically a criminal murderer.

jtur88
08-11-2014, 05:59 PM
A correction to an above reference. Lincoln County Maine was named for the city of Lincoln, England, not for the well-known Lincoln family who lived in Maine preceding the era of Abraham Lincoln. My apologies.

dougie_monty
08-11-2014, 08:36 PM
[...]

Cabool, Missouri, was named by a worker on the railroad being built through the area, because the country around there reminded him of what is now spelled Kabul, Afghanistan, where he had also worked on the railroad that was being constructed by the British through that country. Nearby Texas County, Missouri, was formed and named a few months before the state of Texas was admitted to the union, so it was the first place named Texas in the USA.
[...]

I thought this ironic because, according to an atlas I have, there are no railroads in Afghanistan.

MG1692
08-11-2014, 09:12 PM
Red Square Moscow is not named for the obvious communist connection. Red is a corruption of a Russian word that means beautiful.

Nome Alaska is a spelling error. When drawing the map, a town was known to exist but no one new the name..hence the map was noted name? - Which was miss read and officially named Nome.

MG1692
08-11-2014, 09:17 PM
Victoria is the only name borne by a city in Canada, Mexico and the USA. The one in Canada was named after the Queen, but the ones in Texas and Mexico were named for the first president of Mexico, Guadalupe Victoria.

Victoria Kansas was expressly named by its founder George Grant after the Queen of England in 1873

Rick Kitchen
08-11-2014, 09:58 PM
Canary Islands are named after an animal, but not the canary. They're (likely) Canariae Insulae, or Isle of Dogs.

And in fact, the bird is named after the islands, which are named for the dogs.

Rick Kitchen
08-11-2014, 10:02 PM
Very few counties in the USA are named after non-royal women, but two of them are interesting in their own right. One of them, Dare County NC, was named after Virginia Dare, a girl who died in infancy, but was the first child born in America of English parents. Louisa County, Iowa, was named for Louisa Massey, who avenged the murder of her brother by killing the suspect. One of the few named for someone who was technically a criminal murderer.

Anne Arundel County, Maryland was named for the wife of Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore.

Little Nemo
08-11-2014, 10:08 PM
I had always thought Rochester, New York was named after the English city of Rochester. But when I looked it up I discovered it was named after its founder, Nathaniel Rochester.

garygnu
08-11-2014, 10:17 PM
The town in Oregon is named after a prominent early resident and Civil War vet, William H. Boring, not as a description of what it's like there.

My home town of Lake Oswego was named after Oswego, NY, but the "Lake" part does not come from Oswego Lake in the middle of town. The City of Oswego merged with the growing, adjacent Lake Grove and they smashed the two names together.

DingoelGringo
08-11-2014, 10:19 PM
Well there is Fart Louder Dale Florida named after Dale the loudest farter in the rebel army. But if he could have farted a bit louder he'd have scared the Union army into thinking they had canons.

DingoelGringo
08-11-2014, 10:22 PM
I thought this ironic because, according to an atlas I have, there are no railroads in Afghanistan.

Never been there to Afghanistan, but there are no functioning railroads in Colombia either, but there once were built by the USA. But corrupt government have problems maintaining such things.

DingoelGringo
08-11-2014, 10:28 PM
Red Square Moscow is not named for the obvious communist connection. Red is a corruption of a Russian word that means beautiful.

Nome Alaska is a spelling error. When drawing the map, a town was known to exist but no one new the name..hence the map was noted name? - Which was miss read and officially named Nome.

Nome Sane man Nome Sane?

jtur88
08-11-2014, 11:39 PM
Norfolk, Nebraska, was originally Northfork, and it got erroneously respelled by the Post Office, and became Norfolk. But local people still pronounce it Nor-Fork.

UDS
08-11-2014, 11:45 PM
Never been there to Afghanistan, but there are no functioning railroads in Colombia either, but there once were built by the USA. But corrupt government have problems maintaining such things.
According to Wikipedia, Colombia has a rail network of 3,300 km, of which about 2,700 km is in current use. In the nineteenth century the original rail network was financed and constructed (and operated) by British and American companies, but hardly by "the USA". Their are current investment programmes, to build new railways and upgrade existing ones, financed by the UK and China.

EdwardLost
08-12-2014, 12:59 AM
I had always thought Rochester, New York was named after the English city of Rochester. But when I looked it up I discovered it was named after its founder, Nathaniel Rochester.
An example of something I've thought before was interesting: In the Old World, people were named after towns; in the New World, towns are named after people - and so the names reproduce through an intermediate host.

bldysabba
08-12-2014, 04:33 AM
King County, Washington was originally named for the Vice President Elect under Franklin Pierce, William Rufus DeVane King. In 1986 the county was renamed for Dr. Martin Luther King.

So they renamed it from King County to...King County? That doesn't really count as renaming in my book.

Askance
08-12-2014, 05:16 AM
While it is a bridge (and an outer one at that), the Outerbridge in NYC is named after Eugene Outerbridge.
The Heaviside layer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaviside_layer) of the ionosphere is not called that because it's heavy or anything like it; it's named after British mathematician and physicist Oliver Heaviside (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Heaviside).

Diceman
08-12-2014, 08:02 AM
So they renamed it from King County to...King County? That doesn't really count as renaming in my book.
It seems to me there should be a term for this kind of not-really renaming. But I don't know what that term is.

Nome Alaska is a spelling error. When drawing the map, a town was known to exist but no one new the name..hence the map was noted name? - Which was miss read and officially named Nome
Close. It was a cape, and since the mapmaker didn't know its name, he wrote "? Name" by the cape. Later, someone misread this "C. Nome" and thought the place was called Cape Nome.

robert_columbia
08-12-2014, 10:11 AM
Leesburg, Virginia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leesburg,_Virginia) was not named after Robert E. Lee, but after Thomas Lee, one of his relatives who was a lot less famous.

The Sandwich Islands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_Islands) were not named after local food traditions, but were named after the Earl of Sandwich (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Montagu,_4th_Earl_of_Sandwich), who is reputed to have been so addicted to gambling that he invented a way to bring his lunch to the card table and thus invented the sandwich. So both the food and the islands are named for the guy.

robert_columbia
08-12-2014, 10:15 AM
The borough of Brooklyn was not named such because there was a brook nearby, but was named after the Dutch town of Breukelen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breukelen).

KneadToKnow
08-12-2014, 10:27 AM
Charlotte, NC, is named for King George III's wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_charlotte), and Charlotte's county, Mecklenburg, derives its name from her title.

Given the number of Charles II-derived place names in the Colonies, most people assume Charlotte a feminized place name related to him. We have a state name for that. ;)

kopek
08-12-2014, 10:41 AM
Lots of use of "Clinton" in Pennsylvania and none is related to Billery in any way.

I'm more surprised by names we would never consider today that still remain. If you are ever around Altoona/Ebensburg, break out your GPS and visit Jewtown (some maps have it as Jew Town) just to say you were there.

Flywheel
08-12-2014, 01:35 PM
Liberal, KS was supposedly named for an early resident's "liberal" policy of giving water to travelers.

ElvisL1ves
08-12-2014, 01:44 PM
St. George Utah ... is in the southern portion of the state, explaining why Dixie State University is there.


While it is a bridge (and an outer one at that), the Outerbridge in NYC is named after Eugene Outerbridge.Its full name is the Outerbridge Crossing - the Port Authority thought "Outerbridge Bridge" would be too clumsy.

Little Nemo
08-12-2014, 03:14 PM
It seems to me there should be a term for this kind of not-really renaming. But I don't know what that term is.Rededicating probably fits. King County was originally dedicated to William Rufus DeVane King and then it was rededicated to Martin Luther King.

Chefguy
08-12-2014, 03:27 PM
It seems to me there should be a term for this kind of not-really renaming. But I don't know what that term is.


Close. It was a cape, and since the mapmaker didn't know its name, he wrote "? Name" by the cape. Later, someone misread this "C. Nome" and thought the place was called Cape Nome.

Nome was also known as Anvil City during the gold rush there. The "? Name" explanation was given by Britain's Chief Cartographer around 1900.

Chicken, Alaska was supposedly called that because nobody knew how to spell ptarmigan. I think that's likely an apocryphal story, as 'chicken' is synonymous with 'ptarmigan' in that part of the world.

HubZilla
08-12-2014, 04:15 PM
Wyoming is not a Plains Indian word, but an east coast Indian word. The territory was named for the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania.

JKellyMap
08-12-2014, 04:25 PM
Sort of apropos, Brazil is named for the nut-bearing tree with reddish wood (root related to "brazier" -- burning embers)...so the nut is a "brazil nut," lower case, because it had a name before the landmass/country did.

astorian
08-12-2014, 04:31 PM
I had always thought Rochester, New York was named after the English city of Rochester. But when I looked it up I discovered it was named after its founder, Nathaniel Rochester.

Interesting... a lot of people in Rochester probably don't know that. There's a Catholic college there named after St. John Fisher, and the name was chosen because Fisher had been the bishop of Rochester, before he was put to death by Henry VIII.

Gatopescado
08-12-2014, 04:33 PM
Lyon County in Nevada is named for the first Union General killed in the Civil War. And why the hell not? :confused:

yabob
08-12-2014, 04:35 PM
Tuba City, AZ, named for a Hopi headman, not for a confluence of brass instruments.

astorian
08-12-2014, 04:35 PM
"Coney" was an old-fashioned name for either rabbits or rabbit fur.

There used to be a lot of wild cottontail rabbits in what's now Brooklyn, and the neighborhood of Coney Island was named for the rabbits who used to be found in large numbers there.

bibliophage
08-12-2014, 04:38 PM
Sort of apropos, Brazil is named for the nut-bearing tree with reddish wood (root related to "brazier" -- burning embers)...so the nut is a "brazil nut," lower case, because it had a name before the landmass/country did.Not quite. The country was named after the wood of the brazilwood tree (Caesalpinia echina). The nut comes from an entirely different tree, the Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa ), which is named after the country as far as I can tell.

KneadToKnow
08-12-2014, 04:41 PM
"Coney" was an old-fashioned name for either rabbits ....

Yes, but what's "taters," Precious?

yabob
08-12-2014, 05:05 PM
Coalinga, CA. Generally pronounced Co-ah-LING-gah, which makes it sound like some exotic foreign word. Started as a railroad siding - "Coaling A".

Lord only knows what people might guess about Two Dot, MT. The land was donated by a rancher known as "Two Dot" because he branded his cattle with a very simple brand consisting of two dots.

jtur88
08-12-2014, 05:44 PM
Wyoming is not a Plains Indian word, but an east coast Indian word. The territory was named for the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania.

There are educational institutions (including some universities) in Pennsylvania named California, Wyoming, Indiana, Delaware. Washington and Ohio. (And maybe some more I can't think of.)

The longest river entirely within Texas is the Colorado.

Missouri has towns named California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

Within Kansas, the Arkansas River is pronounced /ar-KAN-zus/, as is Arkansas City, Kansas..

Ulfreida
08-12-2014, 05:51 PM
nm

Amateur Barbarian
08-12-2014, 05:53 PM
So they renamed it from King County to...King County? That doesn't really count as renaming in my book.
It was originally named after a racist, pro-slavery VP. The agitation was to rename it on those grounds, and there was an exceptionally convenient figure to rename it after.

Makes perfect sense and justice to me...

dougie_monty
08-12-2014, 06:12 PM
Now let's see if someone can explain Toad Suck Ferry, Arkansas.

Amateur Barbarian
08-12-2014, 06:35 PM
nm

JKellyMap
08-12-2014, 08:47 PM
Not quite. The country was named after the wood of the brazilwood tree (Caesalpinia echina). The nut comes from an entirely different tree, the Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa ), which is named after the country as far as I can tell.

Thanks. I had been misinformed.

UDS
08-12-2014, 09:07 PM
Leesburg, Virginia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leesburg,_Virginia) was not named after Robert E. Lee, but after Thomas Lee, one of his relatives who was a lot less famous.

The Sandwich Islands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_Islands) were not named after local food traditions, but were named after the Earl of Sandwich (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Montagu,_4th_Earl_of_Sandwich), who is reputed to have been so addicted to gambling that he invented a way to bring his lunch to the card table and thus invented the sandwich. So both the food and the islands are named for the guy.
Who in turn took his title from the town of Sandwich, in Kent. It was a port (used to be; it's long since silted up) and when Edward Montagu, an English admiral, was raised to the peerage in 1660 he thought it would be a nice title to pick. He had no other connection with the place.

bldysabba
08-12-2014, 10:04 PM
It was originally named after a racist, pro-slavery VP. The agitation was to rename it on those grounds, and there was an exceptionally convenient figure to rename it after.

Makes perfect sense and justice to me...

It isn't renamed if the name is the same. You could describe it as a (convenient) rebranding of the county's name.

Colibri
08-12-2014, 10:30 PM
Not quite. The country was named after the wood of the brazilwood tree (Caesalpinia echina). The nut comes from an entirely different tree, the Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa ), which is named after the country as far as I can tell.

Strangely, there were stories about an island called Brasil or Hy-Brasil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brasil_(mythical_island)) in the Atlantic to the west of Ireland long before the country was discovered, but the derivation is from Gaelic and the similarity is coincidental.

Wallaby
08-12-2014, 11:21 PM
The Nullarbor plain is a huge desert in Southern/Central Australia. Many people believe Nullarbor is an Aboriginal word, because it has a similar sound and rhythm to many other indigenous placenames. In fact, it was named by an Australian Surveying team and is simple Latin in origin: Null-Arbor = No-Trees

Flywheel
08-12-2014, 11:29 PM
There are educational institutions (including some universities) in Pennsylvania named California, Wyoming, Indiana, Delaware. Washington and Ohio. (And maybe some more I can't think of.)

Speaking of Ohio, there's Miami University (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_University)...

dougie_monty
08-13-2014, 01:23 AM
Speaking of Ohio, there's Miami University (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_University)...

Don't forget Miami, Arizona.

dtilque
08-13-2014, 06:09 AM
Missouri has towns named California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

Some time back I made a list of such towns, i.e. those with the same name as another state. I managed to find some 340 such places, although a number of them no longer exist or have since changed their name. I wrote up my findings in an article for Word Ways magazine. But instead of tediously listing all of them, I constructed a chain like so:


place A is in state B
place B is in state C
place C is in state D
etc.


I managed to construct a chain of 41 links connecting 42 states. You can find the article here (pdf) (http://www.google.com/url?q=http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi%3Farticle%3D4358%26context%3Dwordways&sa=U&ei=wjXrU_PsOMycyATF6YD4Cg&ved=0CBQQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNFUXziMLOO1slkBiNrkaBwPuMOKLw)

Note that this was published back in 1999 and the email address give at the end is no longer valid. And while I still have the the raw data file, it's on a computer I can't get info off of due to technological obsolescence. Well I can bring it up on a monitor and copy it manually, but that's about it.

jtur88
08-13-2014, 09:52 AM
The city of Electra, Texas, was not named for the personage from Greek Mythology (who gave us the word "electricity"), but for Electra Waggoner, the wife if the rancher who developed the town. Which become even more interesting later on. Her neice, Electra Waggoner Biggs, a well-known sculptress in Texas, was married to a General Motors executive who named the Buick Electra after her in 1959..

Diceman
08-13-2014, 12:19 PM
Coalinga, CA. Generally pronounced Co-ah-LING-gah, which makes it sound like some exotic foreign word. Started as a railroad siding - "Coaling A".
Novi, MI has a similar story. It began as a stagecoach stop on the route between Detroit and Lansing. It was station #6, and was identified on maps as "No. VI".

Haunted Pasta
08-13-2014, 01:26 PM
Also from Texas: Beaumont. French for "beautiful mountain." Located squarely in the Gulf Coastal Plain, the regional topopgraphy is almost flat. (The place is ugly, too, for that matter.) Apparently at some point city officials decided to find something more appealing than its then-current name of Gladysville.

BrotherCadfael
08-13-2014, 01:34 PM
The state of Wyoming is named for the Wyoming Valley, the region of Pennsylvania where the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton are located.

jtur88
08-13-2014, 03:04 PM
Dildo, Newfoundland, a fishing outport of several hundred people, is named after a part of a small boat, shaped like a round-topped cylindrical post on the gunwale, around which to secure a rope. The nautical word goes back to the early days of the Newfoundland fishery (1600s) and probably back to Ireland or England before that. The same word was put into later use with expanded meanings, etymologically related to the resemblance of the part to the human anatomy. Which was no doubt thought ribald even by the fishermen, and probably used at least once for its more modern application before they were mass-produced for detached non-maritime consumption.

Amateur Barbarian
08-13-2014, 03:39 PM
The state of Wyoming is named for the Wyoming Valley, the region of Pennsylvania where the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton are located.
Well,Wye Knott?

Amateur Barbarian
08-13-2014, 03:41 PM
Dildo, Newfoundland, a fishing outport of several hundred people, is named after a part of a small boat, shaped like a round-topped cylindrical post on the gunwale, around which to secure a rope.
"Arrr, be quick and grab me dildo, there, boy!"

picunurse
08-13-2014, 04:23 PM
I've lived in King County (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_County,_Washington) WA on and off for most of my life. It was named after an early vice president, William Rufus King.
However, it was fairly quietly changed to be named for M.L.K. a few years ago.

njtt
08-13-2014, 04:38 PM
The city of Electra, Texas, was not named for the personage from Greek Mythology (who gave us the word "electricity"),

No, she didn't. The word "electricity" derives from the Greek word for amber, ēlektron (ἤλεκτρον), because it was known to the Greeks that rubbing a piece of amber with woolen or other material produces sparks of static electricity, and causes the amber to attract bits of chaff. Amber's electrical properties are believed to have been investigated by Thales, the first of the Greek philosophers (and, in many respects, the first scientist), in around 580B.C.

but for Electra Waggoner, the wife if the rancher who developed the town. Which become even more interesting later on. Her neice, Electra Waggoner Biggs, a well-known sculptress in Texas, was married to a General Motors executive who named the Buick Electra after her in 1959..

That is as maybe, but I daresay Mrs Waggoner (and, indeed, Mrs Biggs) was ultimately named after the character from Greek myth (and each was doubtless well aware of the fact), so it is not really wrong to say that the town (and the car) is named after the mythological character.

Smapti
08-13-2014, 04:46 PM
Olympia, WA is named not for the city in Greece, but for Mt. Olympus. Not the Mt. Olympus in Greece, though, but the one located in the Olympic mountains to the west of the city, which got that name from a British navigator in the 18th century. (It had previously been named "Smithfield".)

Amateur Barbarian
08-13-2014, 04:52 PM
I've lived in King County (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_County,_Washington) WA on and off for most of my life. It was named after an early vice president, William Rufus King.
See posts 4 et. seq. :)

King was also very likely Buchanan's longtime lover, and probably the source of his extreme pro-slavery stance.

jtur88
08-13-2014, 05:49 PM
That is as maybe, but I daresay Mrs Waggoner (and, indeed, Mrs Biggs) was ultimately named after the character from Greek myth (and each was doubtless well aware of the fact), so it is not really wrong to say that the town (and the car) is named after the mythological character.

But not directly with intent to memorialize the Greek, which is the presumed the intent of "naming after". It's like saying it's not wrong to say Scott County, named with intent to commemorate a war general, is actually named for Scotland. Or that King County was named for some Royal figure.

Rick Kitchen
08-13-2014, 07:43 PM
Atlanta was originally Terminus, because it was located at a railway terminus. It changed names over the years, but, as a railway town, a local railroad executive suggested it be called Altantica-Pacifica. That got shortened to Atlanta.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
08-13-2014, 09:37 PM
And in fact, the bird is named after the islands, which are named for the dogs.But there's some speculation as to exactly what a dog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canary_Islands) is.

TreacherousCretin
08-13-2014, 09:42 PM
I live in Moscow, Idaho, which was named after....
Moscow, Pennsylvania.

bizzwire
08-13-2014, 10:51 PM
The town of Athol, Massachusetts was supposedly named after its first mayor, who reportedly had a lisp.

Accidental Martyr
08-14-2014, 12:37 AM
Arab, Alabama was named after a guy named Arad Thompson and then misspelled by the US Postal Service.

That's interesting. I grew up about 20 miles from Arab but I never knew that.
There's also a Cuba, AL but I don't know the origin of the name.

CalMeacham
08-14-2014, 08:55 AM
The town of Athol, Massachusetts was supposedly named after its first mayor, who reportedly had a lisp.

In the late sixties and early seventies, the joke in Massachusetts used to be that Endicott Peabody* was the only man to have four cities in Massachusetts named after him -- Endicott, Peabody, Marblehead, and Athol.


"Endicott" and "Peabody" are family names with a long history in Massachusetts. "Marblehead" probably derives from the rocky seacoast there. The infamous "Athol" is a surprisingly common town name around the English-speaking world, and seems to derive from the Scottish town of Atholl, where there was an Earl of Atholl in the twelfth century, about whom I'll bet they made very few jokes.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atholl








*Governor from 1963-1965. Shares his unlikely name with a famous Episcopalian priest and educator, founder of the Groton school almost a century earlier. He was grandfather to the governor

lost4life
08-14-2014, 09:33 AM
Novi, MI has a similar story. It began as a stagecoach stop on the route between Detroit and Lansing. It was station #6, and was identified on maps as "No. VI".

This seems to come up once in awhile, but it's not true.

http://www.novi.org/Special/novis-name.htm

They don't know where the name came from, but it's highly unlikely it was from a stagecoach/train/toll road stop.

jtur88
08-14-2014, 09:43 AM
Zzyzx, California, presumably was inspired by someone who wanted his place to be last in alphabetical order. He did not anticipate that some rival might call a place Zzyzy, so the terminal -x seems to be a logical mystery..

dougie_monty
08-14-2014, 10:12 AM
According to the defunct magazine Quinto Lingo, people founding a city in Oregon wanted to name it "Psyche." Nobody knew how to spell it, so they named it Pysht, and that's the city's name today.

Annie-Xmas
08-14-2014, 10:33 AM
My city of Englewood, NJ is believed to have named in 1859 because the community had been called the "English Neighborhood", as the first primarily English-speaking settlement on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. Not after "Engle's Woods."

Johanna
08-14-2014, 10:36 AM
Cleveland, OH is a sort of in-between case: The city is named after Moses Cleaveland, who was one of the first settlers, but the spelling "Cleveland" became popular because of President Grover Cleveland.Not so. The extra letter A was dropped from the city's name in 1831 (http://books.google.com/books?id=-Og7AQAAMAAJ&dq=%22Cleveland%20Advertiser%22%201831%20spelling&pg=PA744#v=onepage&q&f=false), with the first issue of the Cleveland Advertiser newspaper. The story goes that the paper made the change so that the name would fit on its masthead.

The Advertiser's own explanation for the spelling change went: "It was agreeable to the wishes of many of our oldest and most intelligent citizens, who are of the opinion that the 'a' is superfluous."

In 1831, Grover would not be born for six more years yet, and was elected president when the city's name had already been Cleveland for 53 years.

snowthx
08-14-2014, 02:53 PM
The Owyhee River in northern Nevada, southern Idaho, and eastern Oregon is named after a few Hawaiians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owyhee_River):

The name of the river is from the older spelling of "Hawaii". It was named for three Hawaiian trappers, in the employ of the North West Company, who were sent to explore the uncharted river. They failed to return to the rendezvous near the Boise River and were never seen again. Due to this the river and its region was named "Owyhee".

dougie_monty
08-14-2014, 03:08 PM
The Owyhee River in northern Nevada, southern Idaho, and eastern Oregon is named after a few Hawaiians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owyhee_River):

The name of the river is from the older spelling of "Hawaii". It was named for three Hawaiian trappers, in the employ of the North West Company, who were sent to explore the uncharted river. They failed to return to the rendezvous near the Boise River and were never seen again. Due to this the river and its region was named "Owyhee".

I saw that place name in my atlas when I was 12, and I knew there had to be a connection. Thanks. :)

ElvisL1ves
08-14-2014, 04:02 PM
Is that also related to Aloha, Oregon?

Johanna
08-14-2014, 04:14 PM
The infamous "Athol" is a surprisingly common town name around the English-speaking world, and seems to derive from the Scottish town of Atholl, where there was an Earl of Atholl in the twelfth century, about whom I'll bet they made very few jokes. My ex was a native of Massachusetts, and told me that Route 202, which runs from Belchertown to Athol, was nicknamed "the Alimentary Canal."

Sherrerd
08-14-2014, 04:29 PM
According to the defunct magazine Quinto Lingo, people founding a city in Oregon wanted to name it "Psyche." Nobody knew how to spell it, so they named it Pysht, and that's the city's name today.

But if someone had heard the word "Psyche" but didn't know how it was spelled, wouldn't they come up with something like "Sighkey"?

"Pysht" sounds more like the physical state they were in while tossing around potential names (assuming they were convening in a local tavern).

Johanna
08-14-2014, 04:34 PM
Kuching is the capital city of the state of Sarawak in Malaysia. In the Malay language, it means 'cat (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cat_statues,_Kuching,_Malaysia.JPG)'.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
08-14-2014, 04:35 PM
. . ."Pysht" sounds more like the physical state they were in while tossing around potential names (assuming they were convening in a local tavern).An alternate theory. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pysht_River)

Sherrerd
08-14-2014, 04:40 PM
An alternate theory. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pysht_River)

Following up on the unlink in your link, which attributes the name to:

The name of the Pysht River comes from the Clallam (Salishan) pəšc't, perhaps meaning "against the wind or current".

...ultimately one comes to:

The word "Klallam" comes from the North Straits Salish language name for the Klallam people, [xʷstɬ̕æləm]. This has had a wide variety of English spellings including "Chalam", "Clalam", "Clallem", "Clallum", "Khalam", "Klalam", "Noodsdalum", "Nooselalum", "Noostlalum", "Tlalum", "Tlalam", "Wooselalim", "S'Klallam", "Ns'Klallam", "Klallam" and "Clallam".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klallam

Goodness gracious. No rest for ye olde linguistic scholars, eh?

Chronos
08-14-2014, 04:59 PM
Huh, I stand corrected. In that case, Cleveland is unambiguously an entry for this thread, since the origin of the name has nothing to do with the obvious.

EdwinAmi
08-14-2014, 07:18 PM
great slave lake

named after the Slavey peoples. From what I remember no relation to the word "slave"

Johanna
08-14-2014, 07:23 PM
Salishan languages are fun. Every word in them is a hell of a tongue twister. By the time white people's tongues get done untwisting them, they're nothing like the original words any more.

dtilque
08-15-2014, 03:57 AM
There's a town in Idaho named Tensed. Kind of a strange name, don't you think? They originally wanted to name it Desmet, after Father Pierre de Smet, a missionary. But there already was a De Smet in Idaho (only a mile away, in fact), and the Post Office wouldn't allow two post offices to have the same name in the same state. The minor spelling differences did not make them sufficiently different. So they reversed the name to Temsed. It was probably inevitable that that name was misspelled by the Post Office.


According to the defunct magazine Quinto Lingo, people founding a city in Oregon wanted to name it "Psyche." Nobody knew how to spell it, so they named it Pysht, and that's the city's name today.

Just a nitpick, but Pysht is in Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula, near the town of Forks. Now if they would amalgamate the two, we'd have the town of


(wait for it) .....



Pysht-Forks.

Little Nemo
08-15-2014, 06:44 AM
Dutchess County, New York was named in honor of Mary of Modena, who was the Duchess of York and wife of the future King James II. Spelling was more of an art than a science at the time so Dutchess was considered as good as Duchess.

Nearby Rockland County was named more prosaically. There were apparently a lot of rocks there.

Accidental Martyr
08-15-2014, 10:48 AM
There's a town in Idaho named Tensed. Kind of a strange name, don't you think? They originally wanted to name it Desmet, after Father Pierre de Smet, a missionary. But there already was a De Smet in Idaho (only a mile away, in fact), and the Post Office wouldn't allow two post offices to have the same name in the same state. The minor spelling differences did not make them sufficiently different. So they reversed the name to Temsed. It was probably inevitable that that name was misspelled by the Post Office.


That reminds me of Remlap, AL. A prominent local family was named Palmer. They reversed Palmer and named the town Remlap.

dtilque
08-16-2014, 06:42 AM
That reminds me of Remlap, AL. A prominent local family was named Palmer. They reversed Palmer and named the town Remlap.

I also wrote a Word Ways article on reversed placenames. here's a link (pdf) (http://www.google.com/url?q=http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi%3Farticle%3D4301%26context%3Dwordways&sa=U&ei=gy_vU-v9EI6uyATKmIHoBg&ved=0CCEQFjAC&usg=AFQjCNH463QEiIxccsIBsPSEgAPB7oPUkQ). Note that this was published back in 1998, so I didn't have the luxury of Wikipedia to look info up, so there's a certain amount of uncertainty in many of the possible reversals I found. One thing I did discover subsequent to the article is that Ynot MT is a variation of the Whynot-type names, not the reversal of Tony.

Civil Guy
08-17-2014, 01:30 AM
There are educational institutions (including some universities) in Pennsylvania named California, Wyoming, Indiana, Delaware. Washington and Ohio. (And maybe some more I can't think of.)

The longest river entirely within Texas is the Colorado.

Missouri has towns named California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

Within Kansas, the Arkansas River is pronounced /ar-KAN-zus/, as is Arkansas City, Kansas..
Could we get clarification on this? The Colorado River doesn't come anywhere close to Texas.

Nava
08-17-2014, 01:49 AM
Different (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River) Colorado Rivers. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River_%28Texas%29) The name means "red" or "colorful", neither river was named after the other.

TreacherousCretin
08-17-2014, 02:08 AM
There's a town in Idaho named Tensed. Kind of a strange name, don't you think? They originally wanted to name it Desmet, after Father Pierre de Smet, a missionary. But there already was a De Smet in Idaho (only a mile away, in fact), and the Post Office wouldn't allow two post offices to have the same name in the same state. The minor spelling differences did not make them sufficiently different. So they reversed the name to Temsed. It was probably inevitable that that name was misspelled by the Post Office.


As I mentioned upthread, I'm in Moscow, which is just down the highway from Tensed.
We've only lived here for nine years, and have often wondered about that name. Now we know, 10-Q veddy much.

dougie_monty
08-17-2014, 10:22 AM
Could we get clarification on this? The Colorado River doesn't come anywhere close to Texas.

There is also "Aransas Pass;" I'm not sure what state that's in.

jackdavinci
08-17-2014, 12:13 PM
I don't know if they do this in other places, but in my area, there are often themes to street names. There's a few blocks near each other with women's names, another area with names of cigarette brands, another with small woodland creatures. The strange thing is, there is another area with a few presidential names, and one of them is Clinton, but it existed before Clinton was president...

Flywheel
08-17-2014, 12:46 PM
The strange thing is, there is another area with a few presidential names, and one of them is Clinton, but it existed before Clinton was president...

The intersection of two Brooklyn streets, one named after a governor and the other (probably) after a local family, gave us the Bush-Clinton Playground (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/red-hook-park/highlights/11722).

Sherrerd
08-17-2014, 05:08 PM
I don't know if they do this in other places, but in my area, there are often themes to street names. There's a few blocks near each other with women's names, another area with names of cigarette brands, another with small woodland creatures. The strange thing is, there is another area with a few presidential names, and one of them is Clinton, but it existed before Clinton was president...

CONSPIRACY!!!!

I searched to see if there are any place names that use "Conspire" or "Conspiracy;" didn't find any. But I did find a page in which people were saying that when you zoom in on Google Maps, Arabic words briefly appear.........OMG, hacking!!!

But it turns, out, no:

It's a bug. When the primary place name isn't available, for whatever reason, an alternate name (irrelevant favorite example of an alternate name) is displayed instead. Arabic is usually the first alternate language, alphabetically, so that's the name that appears. http://ask.metafilter.com/153900/Teabagger-conspiracy-theory-fodder-Arabic-on-a-Google-Map-of-Alabama

dougie_monty
08-17-2014, 06:06 PM
In Las Vegas there's a section with poetic or spiritual names.

BrotherCadfael
08-17-2014, 06:41 PM
Well,Wye Knott?That's a funny-once, Barbarian.

Personal
08-17-2014, 07:49 PM
I always thought that the town of Athol in the Idaho Panhandle was named by someone with a lisp.

TreacherousCretin
08-17-2014, 09:43 PM
I always thought that the town of Athol in the Idaho Panhandle was named by someone with a lisp.

Ahem. See Post #85.

CalMeacham
08-17-2014, 10:57 PM
I always thought that the town of Athol in the Idaho Panhandle was named by someone with a lisp.

Ahem again. See post 87 for the real story.

amanset
08-19-2014, 11:00 AM
I don't know if they do this in other places, but in my area, there are often themes to street names. There's a few blocks near each other with women's names, another area with names of cigarette brands, another with small woodland creatures. The strange thing is, there is another area with a few presidential names, and one of them is Clinton, but it existed before Clinton was president...

There's a new town called East Kilbride in Scotland, just south east of Glasgow. There is really weirdly an area where all the roads are named after places in Canada. I have absolutely no idea why.

https://www.google.se/maps/place/Quebec+Dr,+East+Kilbride,+Glasgow,+South+Lanarkshire+G75+8SA,+Storbritannien/@55.7602037,-4.1932799,17z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x48883f4f3d358ce5:0xc92c48c298135326

Quebec Drive
Montreal Park
Alberta Avenue
Alberta Park
Calgary Park
Vancouver Drive
Ontario Park
Winnipeg Drive

... and so on. I'd love to know why.

KneadToKnow
08-19-2014, 11:31 AM
I don't know if they do this in other places, but in my area, there are often themes to street names. There's a few blocks near each other with women's names, another area with names of cigarette brands, another with small woodland creatures. The strange thing is, there is another area with a few presidential names, and one of them is Clinton, but it existed before Clinton was president...

There's a neighborhood in my hometown of Columbia, SC, where the streets are all named after South Carolina colleges and universities.

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0139714,-80.9697496,17z?hl=en

I imagine they have to replace a lot of road signs around this time of year. I know I was very, very tempted to take a "Furman Ave" sign with me to college.

Chronos
08-19-2014, 12:54 PM
Come to think of it, Bozeman, MT also has a bunch of streets named after presidents, and also has a Willson [sic] Avenue. It's named after a local philanthropist.

dtilque
08-19-2014, 07:36 PM
There's a new town called East Kilbride in Scotland, just south east of Glasgow. There is really weirdly an area where all the roads are named after places in Canada. I have absolutely no idea why.

[...]

... and so on. I'd love to know why.

Don't know how they do things in Scotland. In the US, it's common for whole neighborhoods (called a subdivision) to be developed at once. One of the perquisites of the subdivision developer is to name all the streets. It's quite common for a subdivision to have all the streets with a theme. I've seen neighborhoods with such themes as birds of prey, cities in Italy, and characters from Alice in Wonderland. So having the theme of Canadian provinces/cities would not be at all unusual.

ltfire
08-19-2014, 08:01 PM
New York, NY

A town so nice they named it twice.

suranyi
08-19-2014, 10:25 PM
I don't know if they do this in other places, but in my area, there are often themes to street names. There's a few blocks near each other with women's names, another area with names of cigarette brands, another with small woodland creatures. The strange thing is, there is another area with a few presidential names, and one of them is Clinton, but it existed before Clinton was president...

I used to work for a digital road map company, so I can tell you: Themed street names within an area are very, very common.

UDS
08-19-2014, 11:24 PM
I used to work for a digital road map company, so I can tell you: Themed street names within an area are very, very common.
Yup. If you have to name a bunch of streets, as property developers do, your task is greatly simplified if you pick a theme which can inspire a few names.

There is an area in the north centre of Dublin which has adjacent streets successively named:

Henry Street
Moore Street
Earl Street
Of Lane
Drogheda Street

It won't come as a great surprise that the area was developed in the late seventeenth century by the landowner, one Henry Moore, third Earl of Drogheda. The story is that when he inspected a plan showing the proposed development he approved it by writing his name and title across it, and the streets were then named by reference to the words written next to them. The story is probably apocryphal, but there's no doubt that the streets were all named after him.

Drogheda Street was later extended and widened and is now known as O'Connell Street. Of Lane is now Henry Place. Earl Street has since become North Earl Street, to distinguish it from South Earl Street in a different quarter of the city. South Earl street is named after it's owner/developer, the Earl of Meath, whose family name was Brabazon, and who was also Lord Ardee. And, yes, it's adjacent to Brabazon Street and Ardee Street.

Chronos
08-20-2014, 09:49 AM
I wish themed street names were more common, as they make it easier to find your way around. If you're looking for Beethoven St., and you pass Brahms and Mozart, you know you're in the right vicinity.

dougie_monty
08-20-2014, 11:32 AM
In the south part of Manhattan Beach, CA, there is an area called Shakespeare Beach, with street names such as Keats, Shelley, Longfellow, etc.

CalMeacham
08-20-2014, 05:03 PM
I wish themed street names were more common, as they make it easier to find your way around. If you're looking for Beethoven St., and you pass Brahms and Mozart, you know you're in the right vicinity.

Well, not themed, but alphabetical street names are common enough. In Back Bay Boston, where the streets run uncharacteristically straight and cross at right angles*, the streets running approximately north-south are alphabetical, starting at the Public Garden:

Arlington
Berkeley
Clarendon
Dartmouth
Exeter
Fairfield
Gloucester
Hereford

In my home town, there's a section with an alphabetical run, too:

Albourne
Beryl
Colfax
Darrow
Edgewood
George
Garfield

(No "F" for some reason, but two "G's)



*As opposed to the old North End, where streets are narrow and twisty. By legend, they were laid out along cow paths. This apparently isn't actually true, but it wouldn't make any difference if they were. As it is, stretch limos and fire trucks have a hard time negotiating some of the streets.

boffking
06-12-2015, 11:27 PM
There is a Swan Island, Maine, which is somewhat of a destination because it is both a ghost town, and has a lot of wildlife. It was named after a bird, but not the swan. It's name comes from the Abenaki word "Swango", or "Island of Eagles".

burpo the wonder mutt
06-13-2015, 04:20 PM
Arab, Alabama was named after a guy named Arad Thompson and then misspelled by the US Postal Service.

That's interesting. I grew up about 20 miles from Arab but I never knew that.
There's also a Cuba, AL but I don't know the origin of the name.

Arab is pronounced like the Ray Stevens song, "Ahab the Arab." Any idea how Mr. Thompson said his first name?

There is also "Aransas Pass;" I'm not sure what state that's in.

Gulf Coast area of Texas. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aransas_Pass,_Texas)

the_diego
06-13-2015, 07:07 PM
There used to be a town in Pampanga, Philippines called Sexmoan. Now it's Filipinized to Sasmuan.

Orson Carte
06-13-2015, 10:36 PM
Interestingly, Mount Everest is rarely ever pronounced in the way that the man for whom it was named (Colonel Sir George Everest) actually pronounced his own name -
'Eve - rest'. (Not 'Ever - Rest')

jsquire
06-14-2015, 04:58 AM
I went to college in Bowling Green, Ohio. The town is located in a drained swamp and the whole county is one of the flattest places you'll ever see. It also has very productive farmland. So it being flat and lush with vegetation, I always assumed that the town was named for the appearance of a bowling green, a surface on which you compete in lawn bowling.

Turns out it was first settled by people from Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Senegoid
06-14-2015, 05:21 AM
A neighborhood could have street names that are themed and alphabetical. I recall seeing an area many years ago (IIRC in San Diego) with streets named for kinds to trees, all in alphabetical order. (I'd look it up on-line using the late lamented Google Maps Classic, if it weren't late and lamented.)

San Francisco has an area of alphabetical streets, named (mostly or entirely?) after people who were significant in the city's history.

Back to city names: Atascadero, Ca.

The modern Public Relations people at City Hall euphemistically insist that it means "A Place of Much Water". Actually, it is Spanish for a mire, bog, swamp, or an obstacle or bottleneck. Literally, it means "A Place Where You Get Stuck".

There is a State Hospital for the Criminally Insane there. It looks like a typical prison, with chain linked fences topped by barbed wire, and guard towers. It's called Atascadero State Hospital. Yes, a place where you get stuck indeed.

Marion_Wormer
06-14-2015, 06:42 PM
Fort Worth was never a fort nor did the man it was named after ever live there.

A fort has fortifications, while the actual military outpost that is now Fort Worth, was just a camp. The town was named after a dead general.

kurtisokc
06-14-2015, 09:20 PM
I live in Moscow, Idaho, which was named after....
Moscow, Pennsylvania.

And Palestine, Texas was named after Palestine, Illinois, of course.

dtilque
06-14-2015, 11:27 PM
Westward Ho! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westward_Ho!) in Devon, England is named for a novel by Charles Kingsley. The exclamation point is part of its name.

Other places with bangs in their name are Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Louis-du-Ha!_Ha!), Quebec and (kinda sorta) Hamilton! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamilton,_Ohio) Ohio. For the latter, the city voted to add the exclam, but the powers that be (Board on Geographic Names,. Rand McNally) haven't recognized it.

Back to fictional origins, I know of only two places named after fictional characters. One is Tarzana, California, which I expect everyone can figure out the source of, and the other is Flin Flon, Manitoba, which was named after Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin, a character in a now obscure book published back in 1905.

Martian Bigfoot
06-14-2015, 11:28 PM
The city of Batman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman,_Turkey) in Turkey is not actually named after a caped crusader. Or, well, at least I assume that it isn't.

dtilque
06-14-2015, 11:43 PM
The city of Batman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman,_Turkey) in Turkey is not actually named after a caped crusader. Or, well, at least I assume that it isn't.

No it isn't, although that's one of my favorite placenames. Occasionally I've been able to blow the minds of comic book fans by pointing out its existence.

Colibri
06-14-2015, 11:58 PM
Moose Factory, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moose_Factory) Ontario, is not a place where mooses are assembled, but where a factor of the Hudson's Bay Company was stationed.

Mt. Erebus, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Erebus) Antarctica, was not named after a dark region of Hades, but after an exploring ship, the HMS Erebus. Likewise Mt. Terror, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Terror_(Antarctica)) was not named for its fearsome climate but after another ship in the same expedition.

Normal, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal,_Illinois) Illinois, was not named for its ordinariness, but because it was the site of the Illinois State Normal University.

Jeff Lichtman
06-15-2015, 03:47 AM
The name of my home city of El Cerrito means "the little hill" in Spanish. The hill the city is named for is in the nearby city of Albany.

Shakester
06-15-2015, 05:24 AM
No it isn't, although that's one of my favorite placenames. Occasionally I've been able to blow the minds of comic book fans by pointing out its existence.


Melbourne (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne), Australia was founded by John Batman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Batman), and the name "Batmania" was (supposedly) a serious contender.

John Batman's name is pronounced BAT m'n, unlike Batman of the comics which gives equal stress to both syllables.

Novelty Bobble
06-15-2015, 05:37 AM
Who in turn took his title from the town of Sandwich, in Kent. It was a port (used to be; it's long since silted up) and when Edward Montagu, an English admiral, was raised to the peerage in 1660 he thought it would be a nice title to pick. He had no other connection with the place.

Slight nitpick, it still has a port (or it did when I cycled past it a couple of hours ago) just that it is now used for pleasure craft rather than commercial traffic.

Novelty Bobble
06-15-2015, 05:47 AM
I wish themed street names were more common, as they make it easier to find your way around. If you're looking for Beethoven St., and you pass Brahms and Mozart, you know you're in the right vicinity.

You could extend the theme as well and have Gershwin lane as elegant art-deco townhouses. Wagner parade would be towering neo-classical villas and Stockhausen st. would be stretches of scrubland punctuated by an igloo, a statue of a skipping pig, a broken lawnmower and a dripping tap.

Horatio Hellpop
06-15-2015, 05:56 AM
The Sandwich Islands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_Islands) were not named after local food traditions, but were named after the Earl of Sandwich (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Montagu,_4th_Earl_of_Sandwich), who is reputed to have been so addicted to gambling that he invented a way to bring his lunch to the card table and thus invented the sandwich. So both the food and the islands are named for the guy.

The Sandwich Islands were discovered by Capt. Cook, one of John Montagu (4th Earl of Sandwich)'s card-playing buddies. "Sorry, your lordship, I haven't the funds to fade that bet." "Oh, name some new island after me or something."

As for Alexandria VA, they have a historic marker claiming that it was named after the daughter of "Belhaven and Hunting Creek Warehouse's" primary landowner, although Wikipedia cites a number of other founders with the surname of "Alexander." I'm too far out of town to go check.

burpo the wonder mutt
06-15-2015, 09:43 AM
You could extend the theme as well and have Gershwin lane as elegant art-deco townhouses. Wagner parade would be towering neo-classical villas and Stockhausen st. would be stretches of scrubland punctuated by an igloo, a statue of a skipping pig, a broken lawnmower and a dripping tap.

You don't want to know what Picasso Place looks like.

amanset
06-15-2015, 10:53 AM
I am wondering what places you know of that look like they are named after something/someone famous, but were actually named after something else. For example Lincoln County, ME got its name 50 years before Honest Abe was born. It was named after a town in England.

Yeah, if in doubt it was probably taken from somewhere in the UK ;)

I come from a small town of about 20,000 people. Apparently there's six places named after it in the US, as well as a couple in Canada.

amanset
06-15-2015, 10:57 AM
Yeah, if in doubt it was probably taken from somewhere in the UK ;)

I come from a small town of about 20,000 people. Apparently there's six places named after it in the US, as well as a couple in Canada.

The shame of seeing that I'd actually posted in this thread about ten months before this post. Dear oh dear.

Bookkeeper
06-15-2015, 11:44 AM
Moose Factory, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moose_Factory) Ontario, is not a place where mooses are assembled, but where a factor of the Hudson's Bay Company was stationed.

Mt. Erebus, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Erebus) Antarctica, was not named after a dark region of Hades, but after an exploring ship, the HMS Erebus. Likewise Mt. Terror, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Terror_(Antarctica)) was not named for its fearsome climate but after another ship in the same expedition.

Normal, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal,_Illinois) Illinois, was not named for its ordinariness, but because it was the site of the Illinois State Normal University.

HMS Erebus was, however, named after the region of Hades. It, like HMS Terror, was a Royal Navy bomb vessel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bomb_vessel), which were traditionally named after fear-inspiring things. Another example of "once-removed" name inspirations.

Leo Bloom
06-15-2015, 12:04 PM
tl;dre-r, so somebody or I myself might have already posted this:

Houston Street NYC named after William (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Houstoun_(lawyer)), not Sam.

It's a major dividing street--equivalent to "0" street before the numbers, and anyone who pronounces it like Sam and not "How-ston" reveals his non-nativity.

Although I have never seen proof that William pronounced it that way, come to think of it (not that I've tried).

What a burn if all the smug natives were wrong, at least at one level.

Kenm
06-15-2015, 12:42 PM
There's a new town called East Kilbride in Scotland, just south east of Glasgow. There is really weirdly an area where all the roads are named after places in Canada. I have absolutely no idea why.

https://www.google.se/maps/place/Quebec+Dr,+East+Kilbride,+Glasgow,+South+Lanarkshire+G75+8SA,+Storbritannien/@55.7602037,-4.1932799,17z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x48883f4f3d358ce5:0xc92c48c298135326

Quebec Drive
Montreal Park
Alberta Avenue
Alberta Park
Calgary Park
Vancouver Drive
Ontario Park
Winnipeg Drive

... and so on. I'd love to know why.

Ironically, Calgary, Alberta, is named after Calgary, Scotland (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calgary,_Mull).

And there’s “a speck of dirt” in Texas (http://blog.buzzbishop.com/calgary/a-tale-of-three-cities-calgary-alberta-calgary-scotland-calgary-texas/) called Calgary.

FWIW, Banff, Alberta , is named after Banff, Scotland (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banff,_Aberdeenshire), which, circularly speaking, has a Banff Springs Hotel (http://www.thebanffsprings.co.uk/) named for the Banff Springs Hotel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banff_Springs_Hotel) in Banff, Alberta. I went in for lunch, so I could say I’ve dined in both.

I’ve dined in both.

Telemark
06-15-2015, 12:43 PM
Mt Jackson is on the southern end of NH's Presidential mountain range, which has peaks named for Presidents Washington, Adams, Monroe, Madison, Jefferson, Eisenhower, and Pierce. But Mt Jackson was named for Charles Thomas Jackson, the stage geologist in the 1830's.

Leo Bloom
06-15-2015, 01:05 PM
King County, Washington was originally named for the Vice President Elect under Franklin Pierce, William Rufus DeVane King. In 1986 the county was renamed for Dr. Martin Luther King.

So they renamed it from King County to...King County? That doesn't really count as renaming in my book.
...It seems to me there should be a term for this kind of not-really renaming. But I don't know what that term is.
Rededicating probably fits. King County was originally dedicated to William Rufus DeVane King and then it was rededicated to Martin Luther King.
[I]It isn't [i]renamed if the name is the same. You could describe it as a (convenient) rebranding of the county's name.[Ital added]

About the ital on naming: I'm not being very helpful here, but philosophers have wrestled with this for ages. * PTSD survivor of philosophy of language semester *

Related in general to this mini-drift, my favorite, in France:

La Mort au Juifs, France (current Google map (http://i.imgur.com/rxQNAfV.png)). Google Maps, citing Wiki, which must be true, says "[...] its name can be translated 'The Death of the Jews" or "Where Jews Died.' " Anything can be translated to anything if you you don't know a language or want to euphemize reality, but its translation from French is "Death to the Jews."

But of course, some might rightly claim this is exactly counter-example to OP premise:
[ ... In 2014 ... ] Ms Secretand for the [town] council said: ‘Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even further? We should respect these old names.
‘A previous municipal council, at least 20 years ago, already refused to change the name of this hamlet, which consists of a farm and two houses.’[cite] (http://metro.co.uk/2014/08/13/theres-a-village-in-france-called-death-to-jews-and-residents-are-refusing-to-change-the-name-4830788/#ixzz3d9IXIPzN)

Frodo
06-15-2015, 02:15 PM
Different (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River) Colorado Rivers. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River_%28Texas%29) The name means "red" or "colorful", neither river was named after the other.

There are other (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River_(Argentina)) Colorado Rivers, many (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River_(disambiguation))others

SciFiSam
06-16-2015, 10:40 AM
Arsenal in London was not named so because it had an arsenal there, but because of the football team. The team was originally sited in Woolwich, next to the arsenal there.

Several pubs (or orginally inns) in England gave their name to the areas around them rather than the other way round. The first two that spring to mind are Angel and Seven Sisters, both in London.

Siam Sam
06-17-2015, 10:55 PM
Stanford University is not named after founder Leland Stanford but rather he named it in honor of his only child Leland Jr., who died of typhoid fever at age 15.

Slow Moving Vehicle
06-17-2015, 11:38 PM
In the late sixties and early seventies, the joke in Massachusetts used to be that Endicott Peabody* was the only man to have four cities in Massachusetts named after him -- Endicott, Peabody, Marblehead, and Athol.


"Endicott" and "Peabody" are family names with a long history in Massachusetts. "Marblehead" probably derives from the rocky seacoast there. The infamous "Athol" is a surprisingly common town name around the English-speaking world, and seems to derive from the Scottish town of Atholl, where there was an Earl of Atholl in the twelfth century, about whom I'll bet they made very few jokes.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atholl


Ahem again. See post 87 for the real story.

Ahem a third time: there's still an Earl of Atholl, though that title is subsumed into his higher one of Duke of Atholl (http://https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Murray,_12th_Duke_of_Atholl). He's the commander of the only legal private army in the UK, the Atholl Highlanders (http://https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atholl_Highlanders). Atholl was an ancient region of the eastern Highlands of Scotland.

MacLir
06-18-2015, 09:26 AM
Well,Wye Knott?

"An elevated region of great natural beauty, imposing mountains, and limited fertility."

Just don't call her that to her face; she's tired of the pun. :rolleyes:

Kenm
06-18-2015, 09:37 AM
Ahem a third time: there's still an Earl of Atholl, though that title is subsumed into his higher one of Duke of Atholl (http://https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Murray,_12th_Duke_of_Atholl). He's the commander of the only legal private army in the UK, the Atholl Highlanders (http://https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atholl_Highlanders). Atholl was an ancient region of the eastern Highlands of Scotland.

Links fixed:

Duke of Atholl (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_of_Atholl)

Atholl Highlanders (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atholl_Highlanders).

MacLir
06-18-2015, 10:01 AM
Not entirely a precise fit to the topic, but I used to live in Wimauma, FL.

The initial assumption of most people is that it is a Native American name. No.

When they wanted a Post Office, they needed a name, so the requester combined the names of his daughters: Wilma, Maude, and Mary. :p

Telemark
06-18-2015, 10:21 AM
When they wanted a Post Office, they needed a name, so the requester combined the names of his daughters: Wilma, Maude, and Mary. :p

Similar to Jobildunc Ravine on Mt Moosilauke in NH, named after the three brothers who explored the area; Joe, Bill, and Duncan. Although this is poorly documented and it may still be a native American name.

Really Not All That Bright
06-19-2015, 05:15 PM
Orlando (FL) is named after a 19th century soldier or rancher named Orlando Rees or Reeves. Or possibly (though doubtfully) after Orlando de Boys from As You Like It. Now that I think about it, I'm not really sure what people might have assumed it was named after, other than Orlando, Soweto, South Africa, which both the US city and name predate.

Tibby or Not Tibby
06-20-2015, 09:49 AM
This will be a shock to you all and I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but contrary to popular belief, Ong’s Hat, New Jersey was NOT named after Jacob Ong, the 17th century Pine Barren farmer-dandy who wore a silk hat and liked to woo women at rowdy Pine Barren dances, infuriating one jealous fellow, inciting him to stomp on Ong’s precious hat, which the crestfallen dandy then tossed into the air where it stuck high on a tree branch for many years, serving as a landmark for the village. Yeah, that probably didn’t happen, but who knows? As a kid, we used to stop at Ong’s Hat Diner on the way to the Jersey Shore and despite my thorough inspection of the tree tops I never did see that damned hat. More likely, Ong’s Hat was just a corruption of Ong’s Hut.

Ong’s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ong's_Hat,_New_Jersey) Hat (http://www.njpinebarrens.com/a-hat-a-hut-or-a-tavern-the-tale-of-ongs-hat/)

And, Cinnaminson, New Jersey was not named after the spice you like to sprinkle on your French toast. The Lenni Lenape tribe called the area, "Senamensing," which means "sweet water.”

yabob
06-20-2015, 10:05 AM
... I'm not really sure what people might have assumed it was named after, other than Orlando, Soweto, South Africa, which both the US city and name predate.
Another plausible literary guess would have been that it was after Orlando Furioso (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlando_Furioso). The work had a lot of influence on 16th century literature, though today it is probably unknown to most people, unless you went through the exercise of chasing references in Silverlock (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverlock), which is where I ran across it. "Orlando" is the Italian form of "Roland".

Of course, at some future point where peoples concepts of the dates involved are muddled enough, somebody will probably think it was named for Tony Orlando ...

yabob
06-20-2015, 10:18 AM
Not entirely a precise fit to the topic, but I used to live in Wimauma, FL.

The initial assumption of most people is that it is a Native American name. No.

When they wanted a Post Office, they needed a name, so the requester combined the names of his daughters: Wilma, Maude, and Mary. :p
This sort of conglomeration is common. Titusville, PA has a small historic building called the Algrunix building (two story Victorian Gothic with a corner turret). The named derived from the surnames of the three owners - Allen, Grumbine and Nixon.

dougie_monty
06-20-2015, 01:13 PM
[...]

And, Cinnaminson, New Jersey was not named after the spice you like to sprinkle on your French toast. The Lenni Lenape tribe called the area, "Senamensing," which means "sweet water.”

I wonder if that name is related to "Moyamensing," the name of a street in Philadelphia.

Acsenray
06-20-2015, 01:20 PM
Coincidentally there's a town in Bangladesh called Mymensingh.

dougie_monty
06-20-2015, 01:50 PM
Do theirwomensingh, too? :D

rsa
06-21-2015, 06:10 PM
DISH Texas is not named after sexy females but changed its name from Clark to DISH after an offer from the DISH satellite company to change its name in return for 10 years of free satellite TV service. (And yes, it is styled in all caps.)

dtilque
06-22-2015, 12:36 AM
DISH Texas is not named after sexy females but changed its name from Clark to DISH after an offer from the DISH satellite company to change its name in return for 10 years of free satellite TV service. (And yes, it is styled in all caps.)

That's not a unique occurance. Some time back, Halfway, OR temporarily changed its name to Half.com, OR (http://designobserver.com/feature/what-ever-happened-to-halfcom-oregon/4707/). And as mentioned in that blog, Hot Springs NM changed its name to Truth or Consequences back in the 50s (I think).

Johanna
06-22-2015, 04:49 PM
La Mort au Juifs, France (current Google map (http://i.imgur.com/rxQNAfV.png)). Google Maps, citing Wiki, which must be true, says "[...] its name can be translated 'The Death of the Jews" or "Where Jews Died.' " Anything can be translated to anything if you you don't know a language or want to euphemize reality, but its translation from French is "Death to the Jews."

But of course, some might rightly claim this is exactly counter-example to OP premise:
[ ... In 2014 ... ] Ms Secretand for the [town] council said: ‘Why change a name that goes back to the Middle Ages or even further? We should respect these old names.
‘A previous municipal council, at least 20 years ago, already refused to change the name of this hamlet, which consists of a farm and two houses.’[cite] (http://metro.co.uk/2014/08/13/theres-a-village-in-france-called-death-to-jews-and-residents-are-refusing-to-change-the-name-4830788/#ixzz3d9IXIPzN)
Coincidentally, I just saw that Matajudíos ('kill Jews') in Spain came to their senses and changed their name (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33225466) to Mota de Judíos ('hill of Jews'). Hopefully those idiots in France will see this and get a clue. However, Matamoros ('kill Moors') has no plans to change its name, so Spain doesn't get off the hook just yet. Same for Mexico's Matamoros. smh

Also coincidentally, I'm making the unfortunately-named "moros y cristianos" for lunch. I just like the dish, similar to gallo pinto, while wishing it had a non-racially-sensitive name.

Cinnaminson, New Jersey was not named after the spice you like to sprinkle on your French toast. The Lenni Lenape tribe called the area, "Senamensing," which means "sweet water.”I wonder if that name is related to "Moyamensing," the name of a street in Philadelphia.
No such luck. The name Moyamensing comes from Lenape mwih 'feces' + amimi 'pigeon' + -nk (locative suffix): "Place of Pigeon Droppings." Mymensingh fared much better in the naming department, from Momenshahi, named after a king (shah) named Momen (<Arabic mu’min 'believer, person of faith').

Speaking of Lenape place names: You might reasonably think that western Pennsylvania's Ohiopyle has something to do with its being on the way to the Ohio River. Nope. Ohiopyle derives from Lenape ahi opihële— compound of ahi 'very' +opi 'white' + hële (verb of motion). Translation: "It Turns Very White," referring to the frothing rapids there.

Ohio is the Iroquoian translation of Lenape Allegheny, both meaning 'the best river', because of the lack of falls making it easy for canoe travel. The Indians thought of the Allegheny and Ohio together as all one river. White people just divided it into two, keeping the Lenape name for the upper part and the Iroquoian name for the lower part.

Leo Bloom
06-22-2015, 08:41 PM
Johanna, I saw that also, and got sidetracked before I could post it. (BTW, it's not "coincidence"--it's SerenDipity.TM Although some might quibble that that only applies when it directly reflects OP.)

To all those Ong Hatters who, like me before I mentiond this thread to my wife, never thought anything whatsoever about the perfectly pleasant normal name of Lynbrook, Long Island: it was named by homesick Brooklyners, who swapped syllables.

Jeff Lichtman
06-24-2015, 03:06 AM
The Forest of Nisene Marks (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Forest_of_Nisene_Marks_State_Park) is a California state park. When I first heard of it, I assumed it was named for some sort of archeological or geological markings. Actually, it's named for the woman whose family bought the land that makes up the park.

Xema
06-24-2015, 10:40 AM
It's said that the Lamoille River in northern Vermont originally had the name La Mouette (french for "Seagull"). But a map-maker forgot to cross the Ts, leading to "La Mouelle", which later became "Lamoille".

Isilder
06-27-2015, 09:26 AM
Zzyzx, California, presumably was inspired by someone who wanted his place to be last in alphabetical order. He did not anticipate that some rival might call a place Zzyzy, so the terminal -x seems to be a logical mystery..

.. the town is named so because Zyzzyx is actually a word,
an insect of the name Zyzzyx in 1930's, predating the town.
Springer might have seen the "last word in the dictionary" being updated.
Springer may have used the word so as to be able to say "the spelling is in the dictionary", and "its named after the wasp.".

The name seems to be onomatopoeia, for the type of wasp is distinctive for its buzzing.

Jeff Lichtman
06-27-2015, 12:12 PM
.. the town is named so because Zyzzyx is actually a word,
an insect of the name Zyzzyx in 1930's, predating the town.


The two words are spelled differently. The town name is "Zzyzx," while the insect name is "zyzzyx." The wasp is native to South America, not California. What evidence do you have that the town was named for the insect?

dtilque
06-27-2015, 11:30 PM
If I ever get to name a town, I'll call it Zzyzz and trump them all (well, until someone names one beginning with 3 Zs, of course). Plus, my name is a palindrome, which is always good.

Zzyzx was named by a fundamentalist preacher and self-appointed physician named Curtis Howe Springer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_Howe_Springer) who took over some government land without permission and set up a retreat for fleecing marks of their life savings meditation, consuming magic food and so forth. The feds finally got around to shutting down his operation in 1974, which was only 30 years after he took over the land. :rolleyes: I doubt he had any other reason for naming it Zzyzx except for being the last place alphabetically.

Nava
06-28-2015, 10:43 AM
Coincidentally, I just saw that Matajudíos ('kill Jews') in Spain came to their senses and changed their name (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33225466) to Mota de Judíos ('hill of Jews'). Hopefully those idiots in France will see this and get a clue. However, Matamoros ('kill Moors') has no plans to change its name, so Spain doesn't get off the hook just yet. Same for Mexico's Matamoros.

Mota de judíos appears to actually have been the original name: it was born as a Jewish settlement, but at some point the name got changed; nobody knows if the change happened by error or on purpose.

Our matamoros (with or without capital M, depending on the case) on the other hand appear to be purposeful. And no, we're not planning on removing every moor's head and dropped crescent from our heraldry either.

katpohl
06-29-2015, 03:44 AM
Truth or Consequences , New Mexico
Originally named Hot Springs

Truth or Consequences was the title of a popular NBC Radio program. In 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program from the first town that renamed itself after the show; Hot Springs won the honor.
Truth or Consequences hosts several local hot springs

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
06-30-2015, 12:51 PM
great slave lake

named after the Slavey peoples. From what I remember no relation to the word "slave""Slavey" derives from a translation of the Algonkian Cree term awahkaan, meaning "captive, slave." Slavey. (http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Slavey.aspx)