Strange Town Names

I’ve always been fascinated by town names. Who is the king in Kingman, Arizona, for example? I did find out. I also found out just recently that the place where I grew up was actually named for 2 French kings. St. Louis was really named for the 9th Louis to rule France and its only king to achieve sainthood, but it was officially named during the reign of King Louis XV, so the founder of the city named it St. Louis partially to honor the current king. I now live in a town named for the flower in the lily seen above that grows from a bulb that Native Americans prized for food because they considered it a sweet delicacy. I took the camas flower above from the website.

Mobile, Alabama was named for a Native American tribe living in the area when it was founded not for the word meaning those humans who are “able to move or be moved freely and easily”. I assume that Mobile now has many mobile citizens.

Little Rock, Arkansas, should have been named La Petite Roche because a French explorer named Le Harpe out of New Orleans saw a rock that attracted him on the Arkansas River’s south bank as he was traveling up it. He did not, however, name the city founded there Little Rock. Others did.

Rapid City, South Dakota, which is near Mount Rushmore, was not named by or for fast humans. It was named by a couple of slow miners who had found no gold while prospecting but established a store that sold goods like John Nordstrom did to other prospectors and homesteaders on the banks of Rapid Creek. They struck gold indirectly.

Have they ever had a gale in Galesburg, Illinois? Can you pet a luma in Petaluma, California? There really is such a word. A luma is an Armenian coin or a God-given gift like beauty in the Arabic language or a variation of the word lumen, which means light, but it’s not a petable animal. What fruit is grown in Fruita, Colorado, which is near the Colorado National Monument seen above? None. It was named for a now defunct orchard that once grew apples, peaches, and cherries. Kingman, Arizona, was named for a man named Lewis. Lewis Kingman was a civil engineer and surveyor for a major railroad. Now who is Warner Robins, which is a town south of Macon, Georgia?


About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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