Can You Figure Out Which Of These Unusual City Names Is Real?

Maria Trimarchi

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Experiment. No Name. Unalaska. There are some unusually named places in our world -- and these are just the beginning.  Do you know them all?

Some communities are named after people, others a landmark, or, too, maybe an historical event. Some stories about the origins of these town names are lost to the decades, leaving us with just the name. There's Spuds, Fries, and Chili, and there's Whynot and, perhaps for balance, the town of Why. There's Chicken Bristle, Mosquitoville and Free Soil, and hundreds of other communities with names that will make you smile, and others that just make you wonder what the story behind it could be. You might assume that the Pennsylvania town of Glen Campbell, for instance, is named in honor of the "Rhinestone Cowboy" singer himself, but it's actually named after the superintendent of the Glenwood Coal Company. Nor were elementary school-aged children responsible for coming up with some of the more potentially juvenile names for towns, like Pee Pee Township, in Ohio, Boogertown, in North Carolina, or Chicken, in Alaska. From location to origin, and some fun facts thrown in, let's see how much you know about unusually named communities around the world.


Oh, and if you go -- don't forget to send a postcard from Hell (one of the five in the world).


The mayor of which city threatened to sue Warner Bros. and writer-director Christopher Nolan for their use of its name?

Until the 1950s, Batman was a village called Iluh. It wasn't until after the town struck gold that it was renamed, after the Batman River that flows nearby. In 2008, Huseyin Kalkan, mayor of the city, announced he planned a lawsuit against the makers of the "Dark Knight" movies (yet remains silent on the "Batman" comics from the 1930s) -- the world is still waiting.

North Carolina is famous for what style of cooking, although this community wasn't named for it?

North Carolina is known for "Lexington-style" and "Eastern-style" barbecue, but the town with the same name isn't nearly as famous. Barbecue is a community located in Barbecue Township of Harnett County, North Carolina, near the towns of Olivia and Pineview, and about an hour away from Raleigh. Barbecue isn't named after the best pork dish -- it's named after the creek that flows through: Barbecue Creek.

Which community sits entirely within the Blue Ridge Mountains -- specifically the Unaka Range and the Iron Mountains, on the Tennessee border with North Carolina?

Bitter End is an unincorporated community on the White Rocks Mountain in Carter County, Tennessee -- that's less than 30 miles to Johnson City, and about 75 miles to Asheville, North Carolina. Was it a fight to the bitter end when this community was settled? No one really knows.

Which Oregon community's sister cities are Dull, Perthshire, Scotland, and Bland, New South Wales, Australia?

Located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, and only 12 miles southeast of downtown Portland, is Boring, Oregon. In 2017, the Boring-Dull pairing grew to include Bland -- and the towns of Ordinary and Dreary, in the future, may become part of the alliance, as well. Until then, don't forget to celebrate Boring and Dull Day, on Aug. 9!

Which small Maryland town is only about 20 miles from the state border with West Virginia?

It's one of the earliest settlements in western Maryland, and only about 20 miles from the Maryland-West Virginia border. It's still a small town today, with just 319 residents -- called "Accidentals" -- in 2014.

Which town was named after one of its original citizens, not for Mary Shelley's fictional monster-making scientist?

Frankenstein is community in Osage County, Missouri, about 12 miles east of the state capital, Jefferson City. It's named for one of the early settlers of the town, Gottfried Franken, who donated land for a church -- not for Victor Frankenstein (or Frankenstein's monster) in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein".

Which holiday-themed community began in 1937 but turned into a ghost town by the mid-1990s?

Santa Claus, Arizona, can be found on a desolate stretch of Highway 93, south of the Hoover Dam and about 90 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. It's said that Hollywood movie star, Joel McCrea, bought a lot in this themed town, sight unseen. Today, this Santa-themed town in the Mojave desert is a ghost town. Its businesses were all closed by 1995 -- and any remaining Christmas and fairytale-themed attractions, such as the Christmas Tree Inn (where the specialty in the dining room was Kris Kringle Rum Pie), are covered in graffiti.

Which of these American southwest towns is named after a game show?

In 1950, a promotion for the 10th anniversary of the game show, "Truth or Consequences," challenged any town in the U.S. to change its name to the name of the game -- and the citizens of Hot Springs, New Mexico, did just that (the vote among residents was 1,294 to 295 in favor of changing the name). Today, locals call the resort town "T or C".

Which former coal town was once a booming place to be, and the most important coal town in Iowa?

What Cheer, Iowa, was once a coal mining town with about 3,000 to 4,000 residents at its peak around the turn of the 20th century. Today, not many more than 600 people live there. The biggest attraction? That may be the What Cheer Opera House -- built in 1893 when the town was booming, it's now listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Which Pennsylvanian village, founded in 1734, got its name from an inn and stagecoach stop?

The village of Bird-in-Hand in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on a scenic stretch of Route 340,. The earliest settlers of the area were Quakers and Swiss Mennonites, while today, the Bird-in-Hand population -- of about 400 -- is primarily a large Amish and Mennonite population. Its fun name, it's said, comes from a sign on an old inn and stagecoach stop in town.

The winter conditions in which "fowl" city make it inaccessible to everything but snowmobiles?

Chicken is a community that was founded on gold mining -- and today it's one of the few surviving towns from the Alaskan gold rush. It's only about 40 miles from Chicken, Alaska, to Little Gold, Yukon Territory, Canada, and very remote. So remote, in fact, that if you visit, you shouldn't expect sewers, Internet, or people, for that matter. While the population may grow as high as 100, it's typically fewer than 40 people (in fact, in the 2010 Census, the population was 7).

In which New England state will you find Satans Kingdom?

Drive through New England and visit not one, but three places given this name. In Massachusetts, you'll find the community of Satans Kingdom near the Massachusetts-Vermont border, just west of the Connecticut River. In Vermont, Satans Kingdom sits near the southern shore of Lake Dumore, along Vermont Route 53, in the town of Leicester. And then there's Connecticut: Satan's Kingdom State Recreation Area, however, isn't a community to live in -- it's a state recreation area just outside New Hartford, Connecticut. Depending on how you feel about canoeing and kayaking, it's probably not at all like you'd imagine satan's playground to be ...

Which Belgian town was named for a stream, not because of a lack of common sense?

The town of Silly sits halfway between Lille and Brussels, in Wallonie Picarde in Western Belgium. It's made up of eight municipalities, including: Fouleng, Gondregnies, Graty, Hellebecq, Hoves, Silly (proper), Thoricourt, and Zullik. To anyone who speaks English, its name usually gets a giggle. But the name of the town isn't from the English language -- it's inspired by a stream called the Zulle, in Dutch (and Sille in French).

There are two Woonsockets in the United States. One in Rhode Island, and the other where?

Believe it or not, there are two Woonsockets in the United States. The first was established in Rhode Island in the late 19th century. The other, in South Dakota, was named by the settlement's superintendent of railroads, after his hometown of Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Which Texas community isn't cured or smoked, but technically is located within the city of Wichita Falls?

The community of Bacon is a small community near the border of Texas and Oklahoma, located just outside (although technically part of) the city of Wichita Falls, in Wichita County, Texas -- specifically Latitude 33.9934288 and Longitude -98.5453336. It joins other uniquely-named Texas towns, like Jot ‘Em Down, Telephone, and Dime Box.

Which city, its original name meaning, "Near the Peninsula," represents the largest fishing port in the United States?

There's a city named Unalaska (originally Ounalashka), as well as an island and bay both of the same name. It's the largest city in the Aleutian Islands, and home to the largest fishing port in the U.S. -- in fact, it can get so busy during fishing season, Unalaska's population has been known to triple in size.

Which Florida town is home to a Bigfoot-like creature nicknamed the "Stump Jumper," but no poultry farming?

Blink and you may miss this crossroads town in the Florida Panhandle. Two Egg isn't really near anything, nor does it have its own post office. There is, though, a road sign with the town name -- which was one of the most stolen road signs in the state, until it was riveted down. You'll find it at the intersection of State Road 69 and State Road 69A, in northwestern Florida, about 16 miles south of Grangeburg, Alabama, and 16 miles west of Steam Mill, Georgia. Although it suggests otherwise, this rural community is not named after a blue plate special. No one's really sure how it got its name, actually, but it was once called Allison.

Which town was named for a bakery during the early days of the 20th century?

Yes, Pie Town is a real place where people live and visit -- and eat pie. They even have a Pie Festival on the second Saturday of each September. It's in a relatively remote area of New Mexico, about 83 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico, and about 290 miles east of Phoenix, Arizona, on U.S. Route 60. The Continental Divide of the Americas, along the Rocky Mountains, runs through five states, including through New Mexico -- and including through Pie Town.

Was Braintree, Massachusetts, named after Braintree, Vermont, or was it the other way around?

Both towns go back a long way. The town of Braintree, Massachusetts, for instance, was first settled in 1625 and named after Braintree, Essex, England. And Braintree, Vermont, which was probably named after Braintree, Massachusetts, was charted in August 1781. It'll take you about 3 hours to drive from Braintree, Massachusetts, which is part of the Greater Boston area, to Braintree, Vermont, which is mid-state.

Which community got its name because of the black gnat population that bothers both humans and livestock?

The story of how Scratch Ankle, Alabama, got its name goes basically like this: The L&N train conductor noticed that people waiting for the train were always trying to keep black gnats away -- and always ended up scratching their ankles. The community of about 200 people sits about a two-drive away from Mobile, Alabama; Montgomery, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida.

Although it shares the same name as a form of Japanese poetry, which town's name means "sharp break"?

Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry, made with 17 syllables in three lines of 5-7-5 syllable count. But Hai'ku, the community located on the North Shore of the Hawai'ian island of Maui, isn't named after the poetry -- it means "sharp break" in the Hawai'ian language. During the 19th century, the town was established in the sugar business, and was home to the state's largest sugar company. Today, there are between 8,000 and 9,000 people living in the Hai'ku-Pauwela area, which relies heavily on the tourism -- not the sugar -- industry.

Which is a privately owned island, off the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine?

There's actually more than one Porcupine Island -- it's a a series of islands including Bald, Burnt, Sheep, and Long Porcupine islands and Rum Key, located in Frenchman Bay, just off the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine. Except Burnt Porcupine Island, which is privately owned, all of the Porcupine Islands are a part of Acadia National Park.

Which desert community used to be a resort but is now home to California State's Desert Studies Center?

It's situated between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, at the end of a 4.5-mile rural road, Zzyzx Road, just off I-15 in San Bernardino County, California. It's the last place alphabetically in the United States, but Zzyzx, pronounced "Zye - Zex" (which rhymes with Isaac's), began as Soda Springs. Once a spa town within the boundaries of Mojave National Preserve, it's now the site of the California State Desert Studies Center.

During the last census, there were only 23 homes in which South Dakotan community?

In 2009, there were approximately 23 residences in Red Shirt, South Dakota. You'll find this small community on the Pine Ridge Reservation, just outside Badlands National Park -- it sits on the flats of the valley of the Cheyenne River, below the north end of Red Shirt Table in Oglala Lakota County.

Which community was "saluted" as having a "population of three, with two dogs and one old grouch," on the '70s TV show, "Hee Haw"?

Good Grief didn't participate in the 2016 Census, so we don't really know HOW many people live there. The community is located in the very-most northeastern corner of Idaho, close to the borders with both the Kootenai National Forest in Montana and with Alberta, Canada.

Which New Jersey town is named for a Lenni Lenape word, not for a dessert?

Cheese-quake? Chess-quake? Actually, it's more like, "chess a qeeck." It comes from the word "cheseh-oh-ke," from the Lenni Lenape language, which means "upland." Additionally, if you find yourself in need of gas and coffee while driving on the Garden State Parkway, Cheesequake's service area -- at milepost 123 -- has you covered.

Which town is home to Screams Ice Cream and Damnation University?

Hell, it turns out, is just 3 miles southwest of Pinckney, Michigan, via Patterson Lake Road. On the opposite end of the naming spectrum, about a 5-hour drive north, you'll find Paradise, Michigan. (Hell, Michigan, isn't the only one in the U.S., though. Hell is also a town near Riverside, California. And Hell for Certain is a community in Kentucky.)

Before being named for a WWI veteran, which Arizona town was called Lockhart?

You'll find Love on Urea Ranch Road, 5 miles northeast of Wenden, in La Paz County, Arizona. It was the town of Lockhart, before being renamed in honor of Ernest Love, who died in WWI. The railroad station was also named for him, as was as Ernest A. Love Field in Prescott, Arizona.

It's said that which North Carolina community was probably named for ghosts?

There's no one who for sure knows how Boogertown, a community in Gaston County, North Carolina, got its name, but there are a few good stories told around it -- true or not. For instance, it could have been moonshiners trying to frighten visitors by warning that the bogeyman lurked in the forest...

Ironically, you won't find a Starbucks in which of these small Mississippi towns?

The late journalist Charles Kuralt once wrote, "Could the good people of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, use some Hot Coffee, Mississippi, to wake them up?" As it turns out, this little community, along a 12-mile stretch of Highway 532, about halfway between Jackson and Hattiesburg, was named for a pot of coffee brewed back in the early 1800s. You won't find much in the way of a coffee mecca there today -- in fact, in 1999 only about 18 people lived there.

It's rumored which town's name is really just a jumbled way of saying Yankee Doodle?

You'll find the small village of Punkeydoodles Corners in southwestern Ontario, Canada, just about 25 minutes southwest of the University of Waterloo. It's rumored that its name is actually a jumbled way of saying, "Yankee Doodle."

Which small farming community is about 100 miles away from Mobile, Alabama, Montgomery, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida?

Burnt Corn is only about 5 square miles, with only about 300 residents. This small farming community is one of the oldest in the state of Alabama, and is located on the boundary between Monroe County and Conecuh County. The nearest cities? Burnt Corn is about 100 miles away from three major metro areas: Montgomery, Alabama, to the north; Mobile, Alabama, to the southwest; and, Pensacola, Florida, to the south.

A local may tell you that the city of Paducah is halfway between where and Possum Trot, another small community?

The legend behind this town's name is this: If you stand at the top of the hill and look down over the town, the shape of the town looks like the shape of a monkey's eyebrow. You'll find the rural community of Monkey's Eyebrow on KY Highway 473, in northern Ballard County, Kentucky, on the border with Illinois.

Which unincorporated community is right near the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum in Montana?

Hungry Joe is an unincorporated community, which means you may or may not find it on a map. It's in Dawson County, Montana, and near the Montana-North Dakota border -- as well as the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum.

Which town was named after a local businessman, not after killing livestock?

State Highway 77 crosses through the western edge of Slaughterville, Oklahoma, which sits on nearly 25,000 acres southeast of Norman, south of Noble, and north of Lexington. The town doesn't get its name from killing livestock; rather, it's named after James Slaughter, a local businessman who helped found the town.

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