Returning home from an A Cappella competition in Eugene, Oregon, yesterday, we passed through Unionvale and got to wondering about the most common town name in the United States. I decided that Springfield must be the winner and wasn’t even close.
Springfield places 4th. We put Springfield into our GPS and 30 popped up. But then I used my phone to google “most common town name” and Wikipedia listed only 28. I still haven’t figured out the 2-town discrepancy, but the Springfields Ruth and I have repeatedly been to are in Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia. So, trivia time. What’s the largest Springfield in the US?
The answer surprised me. It’s the one in Missouri. Even though I’m from this State, its Springfield isn’t the one with which I’m most familiar. That would be the one in Illinois with, thanks partially to a notable President, some of our Country’s most popular tourist attractions– the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, home, and tomb site, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House, and 2 very worthwhiles, the nearby New Salem State Historic Site and the excellent Illinois State Museum on South Spring Street.
Springfield, Massachusetts’ #1 attraction is the Basketball Hall of Fame, and I learned while doing research that this is fitting since basketball was invented here. I scrolled comments about BHoF and found them running toward the positive–“fun and interactive…if you’re a basketball fan, this is a must!…a first rate museum.” Next time Ruth and I are in New England….
Springfield, Missouri’s attractions seemed a bit more specific to special interests–Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Assemblies of God National Office, Askinosie Chocolate, etc.
Getting back to the main subject, the most common town name and clear winner is (drum roll) Greenville. There are 49 of them according to Wikipedia. It’s such a generic and popular name that only 3 states don’t have a Greenville. I’ll give you a minute or two to ponder which 3.
Other Greenville facts. No American Greenville has more than 100,000 citizens. In fact, most are very small. Rand McNally doesn’t even list Greenville, Arkansas, or put it on the State map. The biggest Greenville, so far as I can tell, is the one in North Carolina, also known as BMX Pro Town USA, with almost 85,000 citizens. Yet more trivia. “Greenville is one of the major transmitter sites for Voice of America shortwave broadcasts…” according to Wikipedia. Greenville, South Carolina, originally called Pleasantburg, comes in second with more than 58,000 people. Third is Greenville, Mississippi, population almost 43,000. Then there’s “Chock Full of History” Greenville, Ohio, and 44 others. To be determined later is why all the big Greenville’s are in The South and why Southerners like really generic town names–Springdale, Alma, Monroe, Columbus, and so on.
OK. The 3 states without a Greenville are: South Dakota (fairly understandable), Hawaii (totally understandable), and Washington (shocking!). I live in Washington, one of the greenest states once you get west of the Cascades.
There are 30 Franklin’s in the US so it comes in 3rd, probably quite a salute to founding father Benjamin. I’m sure there are lots of nice Franklins out there, but I don’t recall being in too many of them except for Franklin, Tennessee, home to Ashley Judd, Brad Paisley, George Jones, Miley Cyrus, etc. and frequent movie set —The Country Bears, At Close Range, Hannah Montana–and premiere site–Friday Night Lights, which was actually shot in Texas.
There are even more Clintons than Springfields, and Clinton has the distinction of being the town(s) I’ve been through the most–Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, New York. etc. I should have thought of it for first place.
Oh, oh. I can see this turning into a major personal trivia game and, therefore, a major headache. Bring it on!