There are cities (or towns) which have no explanation for their names. Others have a rich, true story to tell. Using only your noodle, can you guess which is which?
I will tell you the “stories” of how 4 towns or cities got their names. You guess which are true and which are not (don’t cheat by looking them up). Hint: At least one is true and at least one is false.
Back in the days before railroads travelers had to go by boat or stagecoach. Detroit was a major hub of activity for both with daily arrivals and departures. If you were going west, especially toward Chicago, it was a sure bet that you would be a passenger on the stagecoach. Trails were mostly rutted tracks, although some improvements had been made, including a few bridges. Still, travel was slow and passengers regularly bought hearty meals or bunked overnight at stops along the way.
The stops were numbered on a map at the Detroit departure point along with a brief explanation of what was available at each. Some stops were just long enough to change horses. Some allowed the driver and passengers to catch a meal. Still others featured overnight accommodations.
Stop Number 6 was a welcoming place. There were beds and hearty meals available. Its greatest feature was a hot bath in an actual tub (for a fee). Needless to say, passengers looked forward with great anticipation to stop No VI.
Ever after, many travelers had fond memories of Novi. When it came time to name the town the founders could think of no more appropriate name.
(Note: Motel 6 got its start in Santa Barbara, CA, and does not play a part in this story.)
TWO EGG, Florida
Some towns change their name for the better, some don’t.
As a sawmill town, Allison, on the northern border of the Florida panhandle, somehow got mixed up in a poker game.
Playing poker can get you into a heap of trouble. It was no different in Allison. During the Depression almost no one at the general store had actual money, so they bet what they had. One dusty Friday evening a farm boy brought his only “cash” to the game…and promptly lost almost all of it trying to bluff. As a farm boy he did not have a practiced “poker face.”
Angrily walking out after losing someone asked how much he had left…his response: “Two Egg.” The laughter went on for quite a while. No one remembers the name of the egg laying loser, but within a month the town had won a new name.
Originally known as Goose Flats, its name did not change until after Edward arrived. Ed was a secretive prospector who often headed out alone into the wild land full of dangers like excessive heat, rattlesnakes, dust storms, and flash floods. When he kept coming back to the settlement with nothing, people began telling him that the only thing he would find out there would be his “tombstone.”
Although it hosted a very famous gunfight on October 26, 1881 at the OK Corral, it was actually a modestly wealthy city with upstanding folk. Proof is that almost everyone buried in Boot Hill Cemetery died of natural causes (not lead poisoning).
Ed eventually found what he was looking for. He brought his brother and a friend to a nearby ranch and they began to mine the lode. Soon they were hiring lots of workers and making fists full of money. And the name “Tombstone” was minted. Ed? Well, he was buried in Oregon.
(Note: Tombstone Pizza began in a bar in WISCONSIN and does not play a part in this story.)
SCIO, New York
Some people just lack imagination, I guess. Someone makes a joke and those who first thought it a dumb joke end up being the ones who repeat it to others.
First, you have to know that abbreviations were not always “standard,” especially in the 18th century. Those who have tried to read older documents can tell you that sometimes a “w.” meant “wife” and sometimes it meant “widow.” Each writer created his own shortcuts.
That is what happened. Someone made a joke using a shortcut.
In one county in New York, the map was divided into sections to show townships. Each section was numbered, starting in the upper left hand corner of the county, traveling across to the east were sections (townships) 2, 3, 4, etc. Then the next row below started with the very next number in order, so section 7 was directly south of section 1.
People were settling the land quickly, so order was required. One gent asked the name of the township he was settling in and the jokester said “SCIO.” What the settler did not know was that the jokester was merely referring to the map designation of “Section 10” which was abbreviated to “Sc 10.” Those standing nearby were bemused. Nevertheless, the name stuck. That bad joke is still being told more than 200 years later.
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