There are many interesting city names in the United States. Out of thousands of names, some of my favorites are below.
ANGEL FIRE, New Mexico
Many years ago the Moreno Valley was home to the Moache Ute and Jicarilla tribes. As legend goes, the Ute called the glow from the Agua Fria Peak the “fire of the gods.” When Franciscan friars travelled to this area, they transposed the name into “the place of the fire of angels.” In 1845, Christopher “Kit” Carson coined the phrase “Angel Fire”, which later became the official name for the town.
BIRD IN HAND, Pennsylvania
Bird In Hand is said to have originated back in 1734, when two road surveyors made McNabb’s Inn their rest stop for the night. The signs on these old Inn’s had unique designs on them. This way, no matter which language you understood, or even if you couldn’t read at all, you could always recognize the sign by its design.
McNabb’s sign was of “a man with a bird in his hand and a bush nearby, in which two birds were perched.” Soon enough, this village was known as “Bird-In-Hand”.
In the late 1800′s, there was an abundance of Ptarmigan (a bird resembling a chicken) near the South Fork of the 40-Mile River in Alaska. Back then, miners travelled far in search for gold, and food was scarce. Ptarmigans kept the miners well fed.
When this area was to become incorporated in 1902, people suggested the name “Ptarmigan”. Since no one could agree on the correct spelling, and since Ptarmigans look like a chicken, it was decided that they would call the town Chicken.
Earth, Texas was not always called “Earth”. In 1924 the town went by the name of “Tulsa”, which was eventually rejected by the postal authority. O.H. Reeves, local resident, suggested the name “Good Earth” because the area was made up of fertile soil. By the time the post office had been established in 1925, the name had been shortened to Earth.
When the name “Lakemont” was suggested for this area, Joe Carson disagreed and said it should be called “Frostproof”. Back in the 1800′s, cowboys nicknamed this area Frostproof because the grass was always green. When it came time to officially make the name Lakemont, Carson offered to take the form to Washington D.C. himself. He wound up crossing out Lakemont and changed it to Frostproof. The town was then called Frostproof.
Ironically, about 8 years later, the town had its first-ever recorded frost. A few months later it had it’s second. Residents said the town name was misleading and they were embarassed by it. They had it changed to Lakemont in 1897. However, the Carson family was powerful and by 1906 the name was changed back to Frostproof.
NINETY SIX, South Carolina
No one’s exactly sure how Ninety Six got its name. There are a few different stories told. Some believe an Indian named Cateechee learned of an upcoming attack and traveled to warn her boyfriend. She named all the streams that she passed along the way. The 96th stream is where she found her boyfriend.
Others believe in 1730, the Surveyor General George Hunter marked an area on a map and called it Ninety Six. This area was thought to be 96 miles away from the Cherokee Indian town called Keowee.
ROUGH AND READY, California
Rough and Ready was named after a mining company, known as the “Rough and Ready Company”, back in 1849. Captain A.A. Townsend named his company after the 12th U.S. President, “Old Rough and Ready” Zachary Taylor. Townsend and President Taylor had a history together. Townsend served under President Taylor who, at that time, was a General during the Mexican War.
TALKING ROCK, Georgia
Not too much is known about how Talking Rock got its name. Locals say it could be from the noise the water makes when rolling over rocks in the creek. Some say it was named after those who sat on rocks, talking with neighbors. While others say it originated from the local Indians.
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, New Mexico
Back in 1950, there was a radio program called “Truth or Consequences”, which was celebrating their 10 year anniversary. The producer of the show, Ralph Edwards, asked America if there was anyone in the Country that liked the show enough to officially change its name to Truth or Consequences.
The Manager of the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce heard this and thought it would be a great way to gain free advertising for their city. Their city was constantly being confused with the many other “Hot Springs” across the United States. He saw this as a perfect opportunity for them to finally stand out.
The city held a special election and it residents voted in favor of changing the name. Ralph Edwards and the entire production crew came to the town to host its first-ever coast to coast live broadcast of Truth or Consequences, from the city of Truth or Consequences. Ralph Edwards visited the city every year, for 50 years, to celebrate the anniversary of the name change.
TWO DOT, Montana
Two Dot was established in 1900. It took its name from a local cattleman, “Two Dot” Wilson. Wilson got his nickname from the unique way he branded his cattle. He placed two dots on the shoulder and on the hip of his horses and cattle. It was hard for thieves to alter this type of brand.
* population totals for the ZIP Code come from the 2010 Census.