Americans have a fondness for giving their towns unusual names. Because of this tendency, we have Peculiar, MO and Boring, OR. Website compilers have noticed this, and there are many on-line features with names like “The 50 Weirdest Town Names in America”. These can be fun. I scrolled through lists of town names to find some that have not been listed by anyone. I find these names of offbeat character among the Greenvilles and Springfields.
There’s a town in Michigan named Bad Axe. It’s north of Detroit in Michigan’s thumb. It name derives from an old, rusty axe that was left at a campsite. Bad Axe is a County Seat that began its existence in the last year of the Civil War. The man who named Bad Axe, Rudolph Papst, survived 22 Civil War battles. There have been several attempts to change its name that occurred early on but the name survived. This town of about 3,000 people wasn’t officially established until 1905. The original bad axe may be on display in this town’s library, but there is doubt. This library axe was found in a pine tree, but there has been no effort to find out if it’s the original bad axe. This is doubtful because it does not fit its description.
Missouri, my home state, has a lot of unusual town names like Mike and Clyde, but one of its towns that was created in 1856 has the name Knob Noster. This wins plaudits for strangeness among town names. A knob is a hill and Noster was the name of an early citizen. Knob Noster is near Sedalia, and Whiteman Air Force Base is just one mile south of it. Close to 3,000 people are Knob Nosterites.
The town of Scientists Cliffs has also been known as Annes Aggravation. Both are name winning monikers. Scientists Cliffs is a Maryland town that was not established until 1935 as a summer colony for scientists like Peter Vogt, a retired marine geophysicist. For like-minded men and women who dote on nature, this town on Chesapeake Bay requires that its residents have wood exteriors.
The town of Onset, MA is also a waterfront community and part of Wareham, MA on Cape Cod. Its waterfront is on Buzzard’s Bay. Onset, whose origin of name remains a mystery, came about in 1848 as a summer camp for spiritualists. Its first citizens came to hear mediums who claimed to be in contact with the dead. Onset’s waterfront is often described as Victorian and charming, but this resort town is troubled.
Honeypot Glen is a town of about 1,200 people in the State of Connecticut. A honeypot is, of course, a vessel for storing honey; but I could not find out why this small town was named after one. Honeypot Glen is south of Hartford near the town of Meriden. Most of the towns in Connecticut have very traditional, colonial-sounding names, which is to be expected for an Original Colony. But this state is also home to such towns as Happyland and Shady Rest, very laid back names for sure. I really like the name Mystic, which is one of this state’s chief seaports.