From landmarks to landowners, there are a myriad of inspirations behind a town’s name. While some cities required extensive meetings and elections to choose what name their town would earn, others required only a simple suggestion and a signed document. But somehow, despite the vetting process, some towns in America are assigned names that are more than a bit quizzical.
These towns were assigned the quirkiest names we could find. They’re the kind of names that you’d read on an envelope and giggle, or that former residents are always having to explain to their friends. The larger the town, the more vetted the name — which is why many of the towns on this list are miniscule. Some of them aren’t technically population-determined towns, per se, but rather given other quantifying titles: “census-designated place,” for instance, or “unincorporated community.”
But every bizarre title on this list is home to at least a few residents, who are undoubtedly proud to sport these distinctive names as part of their address.
A few of the towns were named after food — clear favorites for us here at The Daily Meal — while others were named in memory of a story eerie enough to make your skin crawl. Others will make you choke down a giggle while you try to remain mature — though if you’re moving to Buttzville, you’ll have to allow at least one chuckle to bubble to the surface. From Yolo to Goobertown, these are the quirkiest town names in every state.
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: Bruin79/Wikimedia Commons
There is some corn grown in Alabama — but that’s not how this unincorporated community got its name. There was once an incident where a group of passersby found a pile of burnt corn by the creek; however, other iterations of the tale claim the name comes from the practice of burning corn fields during the government’s scorched earth campaigns against the Creek Nation in the 1800s. The same traditions say that Murder Creek — which passes through Burnt Corn — was named because of Indians who were thrown into the creek during the conflict.
Underneath these dark, murderous tales is the stark fact that Burnt Corn has only appeared in the US Census one time: in 1800, when they tallied a population of 33 residents. Not sure about you, but if we lived in this town, we’d have trouble falling asleep at night…
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: Dreamstime
Unalaska is a thriving town in Alaska that doesn’t sound too happy with its situation. But regardless of the additional prefix, Unalaska isn’t leaving the state anytime soon — though it’s on an island that’s really quite distant from the mainland. Snarky as it may be, Unalaska is one of the state’s most scenic towns.
The 116 residents of this unincorporated community in Arizona — the last recorded census data is from 2000 — may never get their answer. But when naming the town, they probably figured, “Why not?”
Yolo is the name of an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Yolo County, California. “Yolo” used to be known primarily as a Native American name meaning “a place abounding in rushes,” but now the word refers to a common excuse used by reckless youths. Either the town was named after its Native American roots, or whoever was in charge was just like, “YOLO!”
This town name is far from prehistoric — the town newly adopted the name in 1966 when officials decided to try to capitalize on the tourism attracted to the Dinosaur National Monument, located just east of its border. The population is small, at around 315 according to the 2016 census. But it is an adorable town with an undeniably adorable name!
Enter at your own risk; you’ve been warned. Though Hazardville did get its start as an industrial village manufacturing gunpowder, danger didn’t inspire its name. No, this town’s name pays homage to Augustus George Hazard, a colonel in the Confederate army during the Civil War.
Shake off those chills. It isn’t people being slaughtered on this beach — the town got its ominous name because in spring and early summer, horseshoe crabs come to shore to spawn. However, waves flip the crabs upside down, resulting in their slow death beneath the baking hot sun. The whole process is called “Slaughter of the Crabs.” Even still, maybe avoid going to the beach in this town late at night…
Left: Map data ©2018 Google: Right; Ebyave/Wikimedia Commons
Well? Where is he?!
The officials in charge of naming this census-designated place conducted a little experiment of their own. Of course, the town itself isn’t gathering any data and its citizens don’t live under a microscope. But the University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station is located there, which is most people’s explanation for the curious name.
Sleepy Hollow, Illinois, was charmingly named after a famous short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. Streets in the town are named after various characters from the tale and other streets are named after trees. Sleepy Hollow is not the town Irving’s short story is about, however. Irving wrote about Sleepy Hollow, New York.
Santa Claus, Indiana’s post office is the only one in America with the name Santa Claus. For this reason, the post office receives thousands of letters every year written and addressed to Santa from all over the world. If you write to Santa, you’ll actually get a reply — all thanks to a group of local volunteers who call themselves Santa’s Elves. The group has been working hard to keep the magic alive ever since they started in 1914. Now that’s a Christmas miracle.
Someone needs to remind whoever named this town of the joy in life, ASAP. There’s lots to cheer about in this quaint little coal town!
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
According to monkeyseyebrow.org, there is some debate over whether this town is named Monkey’s Eyebrow or Monkeys Eyebrow. How many monkeys were there?! Even though monkeys are covered with hair, they do still have eyebrows. Some say the town was named as such because from a nearby hill, the tiny area looks like a monkey’s eyebrow. Others say that the entire county looks like a monkey’s head — this unincorporated community is located where the eyebrow would be.
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Waterproof, Louisiana, was named because of its relative safety from flooding before the levee system was added to the Mississippi River. Luckily, the town’s land is not actually waterproof — its income is dependent on farming of cotton, corn, and soybeans, all of which need to be watered frequently.
Rumor has it this town was named after two men, Brooke Beall and William Deakins Jr., accidentally surveyed the same pocket of land for purchase. The awkward situation turned into a happy accident when later, they agreed to portion the land away to soldiers who fought for two years or more in the War of Independence.
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: Kenneth C. Zirkel/Wikimedia Commons
Sandwiched between the towns of Bourne and Mashpee, Sandwich, Massachusetts, is a historic coastal town that isn’t known at all for its sandwiches. It does have sand — a popular boardwalk leads to a pleasant beach on Cape Cod Bay — but as far as we know, there is not a significant population of witches. Though it’s likely not as delicious, we’re tempted to add it to our list of life-changing sandwiches you’ve never heard of.
This is the only town where “When Hell freezes over!” isn’t much of a declaration. There are two stories behind Hell’s naming. One attributes it to the area’s hellish weather conditions endured by the first explorers; the other involves a German man who was simply misunderstood. Rumor has it the man stepped out of a stagecoach on a sunny afternoon and shouted “So schön hell!” — which is German for “So beautifully bright!”
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: Todd Murray/Wikimedia Commons
What brainy nerd came up with this title? Hopefully, the clever title attracted some smart and savvy adults to move to this rural city — it’s been through some trying times. In 2016, Brainerd was reported to be the poorest town in Minnesota.
Ironically, there are no actual coffee shops in Hot Coffee, Mississippi. If you’re craving caffeine, you’ll have to leave town to find a coffee shop to hang out in. Back in the nineteenth century, Hot Coffee was the site of a crossroads between two frequently traveled trails. In 1870, inn owner L.J. Davis built a store and hung a coffee pot over his door, along with a sign claiming he had “the best hot coffee around.” It must have been some seriously good coffee, because the name stuck due to the inn’s wild popularity.
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right; Marshall Astor/Wikimedia Commons
There are two peculiar stories describing how this town got its name. In one story, a man named Edgar Thomson proposed weird name after weird name for the town, facing rejection with every suggestion. Finally, he just exclaimed, “We don’t care what name you give us so long as it is sort of peculiar!” In another story, an early settler who found the town saw it and at first sight explained, “Well that's peculiar! It's the very place I saw in a vision back in Connecticut.” Even more peculiar is the town’s motto: “Where the odds are with you.”
Zilch. Nil. Nada. Zero is an unincorporated community with just a few more than zero residents. But apparently, the area’s nonexistent population is exactly what inspired its name.
Not even luck could have saved this town — it’s a ghost town now, having lost its post office status after a horrific stagecoach accident occurred within its limits. The deadly accident took place in 1909 when “six spirited horses took fright” and then “dragged the passengers down a steep grade at lightning speed.”
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: Magicpiano/Wikimedia Commons
This town’s government has a reputation for being Dummer than yours.
Doug Kerr/Wikimedia Commons
If you can’t help but giggle after reading this town name, you’re not alone. This town is used to being the butt of the joke!
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: Allen S/Wikimedia Commons
This vague threat of a town name is actually the name of a TV game show. The town renamed itself simply so it could host the show that bears the same name. The game show was taken off the air in 1988, but the town name lives on.
Strangely, you won’t find much butternut squash grown in Butternuts, New York. The unusually named place was named for three butternut trees, also known as white walnut trees, that grew from a stump on the town’s border. The small town might not be known for its fall produce, but it does have some beautiful fall foliage.
If you plan on taking a trip here, make sure you bring a tissue. Where did Boogertown get its name? No one nose!
Andrew Filer/Wikimedia Commons
This zany town name was inspired either by a wealthy Minnesota banking family or a coal-mining town in Scotland — both called Zapp. The extra “p” got zapped off somewhere along the way, leaving this small, highway-hugging town with its three-letter legacy.
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: Aesopposea/Wikimedia Commons
Knockemstiff, Ohio has a reputation for being rowdy — so much so that there’s a book of short stories by a former resident, Donald Ray Pollock, named after the town. The book details profane, violent, and rough-and-tumble happenings that could have occurred there. “Knockemstiff had a reputation for being a really rough place,” Pollock told The New York Times in 2008.
Boring, Oregon, is (ironically) known around Oregon for its entertaining attractions, including farms, boat rides, and an amusing Scottish festival every summer inspired by the town’s official partnership with Dull, Scotland. Oregon is also home to a town called Idiotville, which is probably filled with intelligent people. Stop being so down on yourself, Oregon!
How puzzling! No one knows why this town got its name. Maybe someday someone will put the pieces together.
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: Marcbela/Wikimedia Commons
According to this town’s website, there are only two Woonsockets in existence worldwide — and this town is proud to be the first. The name might sound silly, but it actually has Native American origins. It’s thought to be a mispronunciation of a few tribes’ names.
Left: Map data ©2018 Google; Right: Brian Stansberry/Wikimedia Commons
If this town is Nameless, then we’re speechless.
Yes, DISH like the satellite company Dish Network. DISH, Texas, used to be called Clark. In exchange for renaming the town DISH, its couple hundred residents received free basic television for 10 years and a free digital video recorder from Dish Network. Twelve citizens showed up at the town meeting confirming the change, and not a single attendee objected. DISH, Texas, no longer gets free television from Dish Network — but the town name is still on.
Mexican Hat, Utah, is named after a sombrero-shaped rock formation near its border. Unlike these popular Mexican food items, sombreros are a tradition of Mexico — so the town name isn’t racially insensitive like it may seem.
Whoever named this town was so maniacal that they omitted the apostrophe before the “s” — there are multiple Satans in this kingdom. Grammatical errors aside, the town was named after the explorer who discovered it was embittered to find rocks and dry land instead of the lush, fertile land he expected. Hellish luck, indeed.
Nope, this city is real. Not a mock city at all. There was just some guy with the last name Mock and city officials decided to throw confusion to the wayside and name this very real town after him.
Hungry yet? West Virginia has an odd tendency to add the word “lick” to their town names — the state is also home to Buffalolick, Clover Lick, Pondlick, and Rocklick. Even if this town name whets your appetite, it’s not actually named for food at all. The name was evidently inspired by a nearby salt lick and a branch of a creek, which we don’t recommend you taste.
A town name, or a cry for help?
Konrad Summer/Wikimedia Commons
Every year, Chugwater hosts its annual Chugwater Chili Cook-Off, where participants compete to make the tastiest red chili, green chili, and salsa. The chili is so spicy, it’ll have you chugging water. Though, you’re not actually supposed to chug water if you’re eating spicy foods — you should really drink milk instead. This town isn’t the only one in Wyoming that’s crazy for food — some towns were even named after food!