What's a 'Panhandle town'

From this CNN link about the recent Jet crash in Florida


Any clues on what a panhandle town is ???

If you take a look at Florida, you’ll see that it’s a penninsula that sticks down into the ocean, and then, in the western part of the state, there’s this long stretch of coast stretching west. The western part of Florida is called the Florida Panhandle, because it looks like a pan handle.

Oklahoma and Idaho have similar panhandles.

As Captain Amazing has pointed out, it is geographic rather than descriptive. Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, and Idaho each have sections that extend out in a narrow “handle” as if the rest of the state was a cooking utensil that could be grasped by the narrow section. I believe (although I am to tired to look it up, right now) that the first use of “pan handle” was in reference to the section of Oklahoma that extends out over Texas. Oklahoma actually looks vaguely like a deep dish pan with a handle. Once the term became generally understood, it was then applied to the other three states’ narrow extensions.

I have never heard the phrase applied to the section of West Virginia wedging up between Ohio and Pennsylvania. I have heard it applied to the section of Alaska where Juneau is found, but I do not know whether or not that is common.

Nebraska also has a panhandle.

tomndebb – apparently West Virginia has an Eastern Panhandle. It looks more like a frog’s leg to me.

Cheers team - figured CNN wouldn’t use a derogatory term

So what’s the Texas panhandle I occasionally hear about? Is it the part of Texas that is close to the Oklohoma panhandle?


It includes such places as Amarillo, Dalhart, Texline, Texico, Texoma, Turkey and Plainview. To name but a few.


I am from West Virginia and I used to live in the Northern Panhandle. Aka, the Upper Ohio Valley

Right, West Virginia has not one but two panhandles. When I was living in Pittsburgh, the term “the WV panhandle” was understood to mean the much closer northern one. Wonder if people in Maryland and Virginia use it to mean the eastern panhandle?

Once or twice I’ve heard a weatherman use the term “Pennsylvania panhandle” to describe the bit of PA that sticks up to touch Lake Erie, but Pennsylvanians themselves seem to call it the “chimney corner” or just Erie County when they refer to it at all.

Actually, the original usages of panhandle in the US were to the two odd-shaped parts of Virginia, present day West Virginia. Before the Civil War, there was just a bigger Virginia. And, in a Congressional speech, the speaker referred to the Eastern and Western panhandle of Virginia.

Well, when I lived in the panhandle of Florida, we(the USAF) called it LA because it really isn’t Florida. At least not the Florida you see when you go to Miami or Disney World. LA of course stands for Lower Alabama.

Missouri has a “bootheel” in the Southeast Corner.

Yes. It is called Southeast Alaska or The Panhandle interchangeably.