Town Names of Strange Origin

Marietta, Ohio a town of about 14,000 near Ohio’s border with West Virginia was named for the French queen Marie Antoinette. She married the future King of France called Louis XVI when she was 15. Marietta was the first permanent settlement in the USA in the territory north and west of the Ohio River. For some reason the settlers thought it was a good idea to name their town after her.

Attica, New York, was named for the dry triangular plain in Greece where the city of Athens was built. It is one of the many words from the ancient Greek language used to name towns. There are several towns in the United States named after gods and goddesses and Greek Mythology. For example, there are Athenas in Oregon and Florida, Apollos in Pennsylvania and Florida, and an Arcadia in California.

One of my favorite weird names for towns is in my adopted state of Washington. Did you ever hear of a town named Humptulips? It exists. This town was named for a river and has a population of about 250.

When Ruth and I were in Cornwall a few years ago, I fell in love with the name of a series of islands off its coast. We had breakfast with a woman who was going there. Called the Isles of Scilly, they have a population of 2,224. Hugh Town, its principal settlement, has a population of 985. Five of these islands that everyone with a straight face calls The Silly Isles are inhabited. There are 140 of them totally, and their highest elevation is 167 feet. These islands are part of the British Empire.

When we were in Arizona recently, Ruth and I met a couple with a motorhome that was on a road it should never have been on. They had, fortunately, gotten gas for it in the town of Mexican Water. Mexican Water is a settlement on Navajo land 14 miles from Red Mesa. This town has a trading post with a gas station.


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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