Towns With Unusual Names

I have found 5 more towns with what I consider strange names. The first is Twain Harte in California. Described as a quaint mountain berg of 2,311 people, this town was named after 2 writers who lived and wrote stories in this state named Mark Twain and Bret Harte. The closest town to Twain Harte with a fairly large population is Modesto. It’s pretty rare for a town to be named after a writer. It is said that Melville, New York, a town of 18,000 people on Long Island in this state was named for the author of Moby Dick and the tiny town of Poe in West Virginia was named for Edgar Allen Poe, but that’s about it, so Twain Harte is rare.

I think that the name Swink is fairly unusual for a town, so Swink, Colorado, a town of more than 600 on its eastern plains near La Junta is rather odd. Swink is described as a statutory town. I had to look this term up. A statutory town is fairly common in Colorado. It simply means that certain population centers in this state are subject to limitations imposed by the state.

George Swink was an important man, a landowner and politician who had this town named after him. He was Swink’s first mayor and was in charge of the Colorado exhibit at the famous World’s Fair in St. Louis. He was also the first timber claimant in the US. The order to honor his claim was issued by President Grover Cleveland. George Swink invented the cantaloupe crate and married a woman with a fun name. Mary Cool and George had 11 children.

I had far more trouble learning about the town of Doctors Inlet in Florida near Jacksonville. This unincorporated town of 1,800 is on a tidal inlet of the St. John’s River. The water of this inlet is described as brackish, and the town sits on an elongated estuary 5 miles long and 1 mile wide. It is said to have many docks and bulkheads, but it was not named for doctors who lived in this area. Sources said that on Doctors Inlet algae blooms, blue crabs, and fish are common.

I said in an earlier blog that Paw Paw, Michigan, was one of three towns with this odd name in the United States. It’s also near a city with an unusual name, Kalamazoo. The Paw Paw is a native American tree that used to grow along the Paw Paw River in large numbers in this area. Paw Paw is described as a vibrant town of 3,500 people with many festivals in Michigan’s grape country. Many of these grapes end up in wine, and wine tours in Paw Paw are a popular pastime. Kalamazoo is a Native American Potawatomi word first used in 1772 in a British report.

The final town is Bushyhead, Oklahoma. This rural town of about 1,300 northeast of Tulsa has been around for a long time. It was named for Dennis Bushyhead, a Cherokee chief, and was described by one source as almost a ghost town.

I have not been to any of these places.


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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