I come from a state that loves strange names. Peculiar, Licking, and Clever are Missouri towns. Now I live in a state with a town called Humptulips. This goes back to a Native American expression for “hard to pole”. I live near Boring, Oregon. I have not been to Hell, Norway or Twatt, Scotland, but I’ve seen Toad Suck, Arkansas. There’s actually a town in Austria named Fucking. I’m always taken aback when I pass one of the stores in Australia named F C U K. As you might guess, I seek out strange place names and trivia about how places got their names. I’m clearly not alone. One of my most popular blogs is “Towns Named Aberdeen”.
Alexander the Great may have been an accomplished conqueror but he lacked imagination. As he moved toward India he named lots of places, all of them after himself. Alexandria, Egypt, is the most famous. Lesser known because their names have been translated into a local language or changed are Herat and Kandahar, Afghanistan, and Iskandariya, Iran. Alexandria Margiana in now Marv and Alexandria Rhambacia is now Bela.
The United States Postal Service has listed its most common post office names. Marion is #7. There are 23 towns named Marion in the U.S. There are 6 Marions in Australia. There’s a historic city-state in Cyprus named Marion.
There are 18 Romes in the U.S., 2 in Belgium, and 1 each in Jamaica, Portugal, The Netherlands, and Indonesia. Oh, and there’s 1 in Italy.
Salem is #10 on the USPO’s list. There are 21 of them around. But there’s also a Salem in India. It’s in the state of Tamil Nadu.
There are many places named for Christopher Columbus like Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Colombo, Brazil.
Paris in the Yukon. Ruth came home the other day and told me that a couple we know in leaving for the Yukon soon. I told her that they must be nuts to go there at this time of year. The next day she told me that they’re actually going to The Yucatan.
There are 15 Yorks in the United States. Three of them are in Wisconsin. “York” has also been incorporated into many expanded place names, hence York Harbor, Maine, and the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia.
There’s also an Albany in Australia. I’ve been there. It’s pronounced Al buh knee.
I love signs too. One of my favorites is below. Another favorite is in Paris, Texas. “Bonjour, Y’all,” it exclaims.