Skip to main content

On 10 amusing American place names


I recently edited an article on American place names for a magazine, and here are ten that I found particularly diverting:

Intercourse, Alabama
Fannie, Arkansas (you have to be English to appreciate that one fully)
Kickapoo, Illinois
Dry Prong, Louisiana
Beans Corner Bingo, Maine
Peculiar, Missouri
Bivalve, New Jersey
Idiotville, Oregon
Oral, South Dakota
Looneyville, West Virginia

Tschuh! America, eh? What is it like?


 Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Comments

  1. Oh yeah? What about Catbrain, Pratt's Bottom, Cockermouth, Hoe, and Long Waste? We don't have a corner on this market, Brit Boy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Snowflake, Arizona was named for Erasmus Snow and William Flake. There are still Flakes in the Arizona statehouse (Republicans, for what it's worth).
    The town of Show Low, AZ also has an interesting naming story: According to the legend, the city was named after a marathon poker game between C.E. Cooley and Marion Clark. The two men decided there was not enough room for both of them in their settlement. The two men agreed to let a game of cards decide who was to move. According to the tale, Clark said, "If you can show low, you win." Cooley turned up the deuce of clubs (the lowest possible card) and replied, "Show low it is." The stakes were a 100,000-acre (400 km²) ranch. Show Low's main street is named "Deuce of Clubs" in remembrance. The city seal features the two of clubs, as well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Alvernon Way (a road in Tucson, AZ), however, was not named after two cowboy brothers, Al and Vernon Way. That story I made up. My wife is still a little mad at me about that one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Truth or Consequences, NM was named after the game show. That's not that interesting. Same thing with Metropolis, IL. It was just renamed that as a stunt to attract tourists. Pie Town, NM, however, was apparently really named for the good pie they serve there.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.


A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…

On looking through old sketchbooks: 18

"Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence." -- Henri Matisse.

Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader