For geography buffs like me, one of the best aspects of studying different places is to find cities with unique names. They don’t necessarily have to be tourist attractions, but their names make the area interesting and add to their charm. Take a virtual journey with me to cities with awesome, unforgettable names.
1. Truth or Consequences
Located in New Mexico between Las Cruces and Albuquerque, this small town of about 6,000 residents used to be called Hot Springs after the numerous ancient hot springs in the area. Fun Fact: The city adopted the moniker of Truth or Consequences in 1950 after the popular radio game show of the same name.
If this name is unfamiliar to you, it’s okay; you’re not alone. It’s a village on the island of Anglesey, Wales. While the name is frequently shortened to Llanfair PG, its full name is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
3. Ding Dong
The name of the Texas town comes from the founders, Bert and Zulis Bell. The Bells owned a country store and hired a painter to create a sign for their store. As a play on the Bells’ last name, the painter added two bells to the sign and labeled one bell Bert and the other Zulis. He then added the words “Ding Dong” under the bells.
An unpopulated town in southern California, the name was created by Curtis Howe Springer, a radio evangelist. Pronounced “ziz-zicks,” Springer gave the town its unusual name, believing it would be the last known word in the English language.
Named after Mexican American War General Gideon Pillow, the historical borough of Pillow can be found near the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg. It has a current population of approximately 300 people.
6. Walla Walla
In the 1860s, this city and county in the southeastern region of Washington state served as a significant hub for traveling gold miners seeking their fortunes in the now-Idaho area after gold was discovered there. The name Walla Walla means “running waters” and originates from an indigenous tribe that lived there.
The indigenous Utes named the creek running through the region “Pahchouc.” Settlers mispronounced the word “parachute,” which became the town’s name. Today the Colorado town is known for its hot springs, hiking, and camping attractions.
8. McCool Junction
Founded in 1886, this small Nebraska town was initially called McCool after Daniel McCool, an official with the local railroad. In 1888, a development made it the intersection of two railroads, adding the word “Junction” to its name.
Years ago, this Arizona community had two interstates that met in a Y-shaped formation. When it became a town, the founders wanted to name it “Y” after the intersection, but state law mandated the names of all towns and cities in Arizona have at least three letters, so “Y” became “Why.
A suburb of Sydney, Australia, the name of this harbor city is supposedly from Woolloomooloo House, the first homestead built there. However, there are arguments that the word is derived from the indigenous Aboriginal language.
No, this city has no connection to the DC Comics superhero. Pronounced “baht-mahn,” the Turkish municipality is home to some of the oldest archaeological ruins in the world. While the batman is an ancient unit of measurement, it is believed that the name is a portmanteau of a mountain called the Batı Raman.
12. Bat Cave
While we’re on the subject of the Caped Crusader, there is a community in North Carolina called Bat Cave. It is the home of North America’s largest granite fissure cave called, you guessed it, the Bat Cave. The Indiana bat, a protected endangered species, lives inside the Bat Cave.
13. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!
The Québec, Canada, municipality is the only place in the world with two exclamation points in its name. It is said that the unusual name comes from the antiquated French word “ha-ha,” which means an obstruction. In this case, the obstacle was Lake Témiscouata. “Louis” is supposed to represent one of the town’s founders. The source of the exclamation points is unknown.
14. Bad Axe
In 1861, two surveyors in Michigan camped at what would be the future location of the city. At the camp, they found an old, damaged axe. They used the name “Bad Axe Camp” on their survey notes and a trail sign to mark the spot. The name stuck when the area officially became a city in 1905.
15. Skull Valley
The name of Skull Valley originated when settlers in Arizona came across human remains that resulted from an earlier battle between warring Native American tribes. Today, Skull Valley is home to the Prescott National Forest, which boasts more than 950 miles of scenic hiking trails.
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Her articles have appeared in publications such as Wealth of Geeks, MSN (US), MSN Ireland, Flipboard, The Facts, The Cents of Money, A Dime Saved, The Times (Frankfort), Invested Wallet, Chronicle-Tribune, Mama of Five Blog, Lafourche Gazette, The Herald-Press, Kinda Frugal, Peru Tribune, and Financially Well Off. Stephanie Allen got her start in writing by teaching college writing and technical writing courses. She transitioned to working as a contract technical writer specializing in information technology. Her love for writing on various subjects led her to Wealth of Geeks.