10 Small American Cities That Gave Their Name To Something Much More Widespread

What do Colby cheese and Fig Newtons have in common besides being delectable snacks? They both got their name from their city of origin. Still, you probably didn’t realize it because they’re named after smaller towns in the U.S. From Lyme, Connecticut to Buffalo, New York, these small American cities gave their name to something known across the fifty states and beyond.  

1. Lyme, Connecticut

Dangerous deer tick and small child legs in summer shoes on grass. Ixodes ricinus. Parasite hidden on green leaf and little girl foots in sandals on lawn in nature park. Tick-borne disease prevention.
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After a group of families in and around Lyme, Connecticut came down with arthritic and other unexplained symptoms, they began to suspect that they all suffered from the same unnamed condition. They brought their concerns to the Connecticut State Department of Health in 1975, which led researchers to finally name the disease in 1976 after the town the families were from. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by a specific species of tick. 

2. Hatch, New Mexico

New Mexico Hatch Valley green chiles overflowing from harvest baskets following the chile pepper harvest in Albuquerque
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Nothing beats a delectable Hatch chile dip hand-crafted in its home state of New Mexico. This delicious chile with a mild yet flavorful taste is prevalent throughout the fifty states. Still, many people don’t realize the pepper’s name stems from the small town of Hatch, New Mexico, which was the site of the original growing area of the Hatch chile.

3. Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey, Pennsylvania
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You must live under a rock to know nothing about America’s favorite chocolate, Hershey’s. However, people are less familiar with the city in Pennsylvania with the same name as the delicious company. Both the town and the candy company were named after the man who founded the company. The first factory was located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, now the site of a popular amusement park

4. Colby, Wisconsin

Colby jack cheese
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With a population of fewer than 2,000 residents, Colby, Wisconsin, may seem like just another midwestern city that remains shrouded by obscurity. But Colby is the home of the nationally famous Colby cheese, which was invented by Joseph F. Steinwand in 1885.

5. Newton, Massachusetts

Fig Newtons on wooden table
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Today, this Boston suburb is known for its prestigious schools and gorgeous, upscale neighborhoods. However, over a century ago, in 1891, the F.A. Kennedy Steam Bakery created its first Fig Newtons and named the cookie snack after Newton, Massachusetts. 

6. Minnetonka, Minnesota

A view of a toy Tonka truck.
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Lake Minnetonka gets its name from the Dakota Sioux Tribe, which means “great water” when translated into English. The city of Minnetonka and the brand of moccasins are named after the lake. On top of that, Tonka Trucks get their name from Minnetonka too. 

7. Conestoga, Pennsylvania

Conestoga Wagon Scotts Bluff National Monument, Oregon Trail, Nebraska
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I remember spending lots of time in public school learning about the Oregon Trail and the Conestoga wagons the pioneers traveled in. While most of us associate these wagons with the West, their name comes from where they were invented: Conestoga, Pennsylvania. 

8. Mt. Olive, North Carolina

A jar of Mt. Olive old fashioned sweet bread and butter chips on an isolated background.
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If you love briny, salty cucumbers, you’ve probably eaten pickles from the Mt. Olive Pickle Company. Founded in 1926, this pickle company calls the town of Mount Olive home. That’s where they got their name from as well.

9. Buffalo, New York

Spicy Hot Organic Red Buffalo Sauce in a Bowl
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Known for its brutal winter weather and talented sports teams, Buffalo, New York, is also home to another special nationwide favorite: Buffalo sauce. Some people think buffalo sauce is named after the large land-dwelling mammal, also known as a bison, but that’s not the case. Buffalo sauce was created in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo at a Buffalo, New York bar. 

10. Mobile, Alabama

Holiday caravan or mobile home on trailer park.
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For my whole life, I thought mobile homes were called “mobile” because they can move from one place to another. But that’s not actually the case. The name “Mobile home” comes from Mobile, Alabama. Many homes of this style were manufactured in and around Mobile during the 1950s; thus, the name was born. 

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