Towns Named for Countries

Missouri has only 4 towns named after foreign countries: Cuba, Lebanon, Mexico, and Japan. I was aware of the first three but not Japan, even though my sister lives in the closest town to it. A trip to a Japanese dentist in St.Louis recently changed that.

Lebanon, MO is known for its magnetic water. A town of more than 14,000 people and the largest town named for a foreign country in Missouri, Lebanon is 47 miles northwest of Springfield. It was originally called Wyota.

Mexico, MO was named for a local sign that read “Mexico that-a-way.” It’s a town of 11,500 people northwest of Columbia. It was reportedly named for people headed for Texas who stopped in this town briefly. I know Mexico pretty well because Ruth used to have a cousin who lived in Mexico, MO and sold TV sets to the locals.

Cuba, MO is a town of about 3,400 people between Bourbon and St. James on I-44. It’s name derived from a store owner there with a Cuban wife named Amanda. When the town was named Cuba, the people in Cuba were fighting for their independence and Missourians thought it was a good idea to honor them.

Ruth and I have been to Mexico, Cuba, and Japan but not to Lebanon. I learned about Japan, MO pronounced Ja pan with an emphasis on the first syllable with the A highly emphasized and long. I heard about it from Dr. Watanabe, a friend and Japanese dentist in St.Louis who is from Utah. He was whitening my teeth at the time he told me about Japan, MO. He was kind of amazed by its existence. A town of about 800 near Sullivan, Japan was named after a local Catholic Church called Holy Martyrs of Japan. This town’s name was almost changed during World War II when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese and the attitude toward the people of Japan suddenly changed.


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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