I love unusual place names, and the United States is full of them. I like collecting the names and going through the towns. It seems like every year we add some new names to our list. Here are a few of them.
We like Show Low, AZ. I heard that the Show Low Historical Society Museum was fun, so we included this town on an itinerary. It and the town on the Mogollon Rim were fun, and I wrote about both in a blog in the archives called “Show Low’s Community Oriented Museum”. Show Low got its name from a card game called Seven-up where the low card wins. Two men were playing it with a ranch the prize. “If you can show low, you win,” said Clark to Cooley. Cooley turned over the deuce of clubs and stated, “Show Low it is.” and a town where the main street is named Deuce of Clubs happened. The historical society museum is at 561 East Deuce of Clubs.
One time Ruth & I were enjoying Ely, MN before going to Voyageurs National Park. Both were excellent destinations. The town of Embarrass was nearby and kind of on the way to the park. It’s very small with a population of only 30 souls. This was made understandable when I learned that it’s the coldest place in Minnesota. The name derives from the French word embarras which means “to hinder with difficulties”.
A friend and neighbor named Caroline hails from Helper, Utah. Her parents still live there. Helper is the mining town you go through before reaching much-larger Price, UT. We go through it most summers because it on Highway 6 that provides a shortcut between Salt Lake City and Green River. Later we go through Parachute and Rifle, Colorado. Parachute’s origin of name is disputed. Some say that in the 18th century a survey team looking at watershed patterns named it. Both towns are on the Colorado River. Rifle was named for a left-behind gun when a fur-seeking trapper apparently left his rifle along a creek and the developing town was named after it.
Ruth & I live in a community called Camas. Camas is a plant of the lily family with blue flowers and a nutritious onion-like bulb that’s doted on as spring food by Native Americans. Lewis & Clark’s Corps of Discovery craved fibre and gorged on them. The camas roots made them all sick for more than a week. Way north of us on spectacular Highway 20 is a town named Concrete. It sprang up around a Portland Cement Company operation and earned the name Cement City. When we were there the sidewalks were pristine concrete.