Why so many Americans decided to name their town Utica remains a mystery to me. Utica was the Phoenician name for a town near Carthage in Africa during Roman times, and there are now at least 20 of them in the USA. Most of them are very small towns with one exception, and I think it is safe to say that several thousand people live quiet lives in towns named Utica in 16 or more states. I found most of them on maps to verify their existence. The Utica in Texas has become a ghost town. It’s the only Utica that has gone out of existence.
Finding so many Uticas proves one thing. Many people choose to live in very small towns and avoid large cities. Few Uticas, except for one, exceed 2,000 people and most are much smaller. The Utica in Nebraska has become part of Lincoln. The town of Utica, Mississippi, has produced many deaf educators despite its size of fewer than 1,000 people. The Utica in Wisconsin is near Oshkosh. The Utica in Knox County Ohio specializes in Velvet Ice Cream.
The most impressive town named Utica is in New York State. A populated place of about 65,000 people, it was once known as Sin City. Now it is a gastronomic capital and County Seat (Oneida County) that specializes in riggies, greens, and pies. There are many Italian restaurants in Utica, New York, and many of them offer a local specialty known as riggies. This dish that sounds delicious consists of rigatoni pasta, chicken, and peppers.
There are Uticas in South Carolina near Greenville, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.