I can still remember the horror I felt as a child driving to Dead Horse Point State Park in Southern Utah. My mom was fully aware of my deep passion for horses, so why on Earth would she take me to such a terrible place where there were dead horses around everywhere? Why not take me to ‘Live Pony Stables’ or ‘Very Healthy Horse Ranch?’ Turns out there were no dead horses at Dead Horse Point, just a terrible name derived from a terrible incident that never went away. Some are just strange (Toad Suck?) while others are just ever so slightly off.
Ever wonder how some of the most terribly named places in the U.S. came to be named? With the sheer amount of Climax, Intercourse, and Cumming on this list, it’s enough to make you wonder if our cities founding fathers had a wee case of gutterbrain. I asked my friends on Facebook to tell me what the most ridiculously named places and towns around them were and these are their responses. I looked all of them up, and yes, they are all real unfortunately named locations in the United States. My mom suggested Bastardo, Italy but I have a feeling I could save all the international town names for another post.
(These are all spoof postcards I made, none are photos of the *actual* destination listed aside from Badlands and Dead Horse Point State Park. I’m sure Zero, Mississippi is simply lovely in real life.)
20 Unfortunately Named Locations in the U.S. 1 of 22
Maybe you've heard of some I've missed?
Floyd’s Knob, Indiana 2 of 22
Google calls it a small farming community on the outskirts of New Albany.
I call it giggle inducing.
Filmore/Beaver, Utah 3 of 22
On I-15 in central Utah you'll pass a sign reading 'Fillmore Beaver.'
Head the other way and it will be 'Beaver Fillmore.'
Either way? It beaver funny.
Boring, Oregon 4 of 22
Nebraska maybe (sorry Nebraska!) but never Oregon.
Killdeer, Illinois 5 of 22
I mean, why not call it Happykitty, Illinois?
Big Bone Lick State Park, Kentucky 6 of 22
Big Bone Lick State Park is located in Big Bone in Boone County, Kentucky.
Now say 'Big Bone in Boone County' nine times fast.
Cape Fear, North Carolina 7 of 22
Cape Fear comes off of Bald Head Island in North Carolina.
I know there was a time my dad's fear was his own balding head.
(The name 'Cape Fear' comes from a 1585 English expedition and is the 5th-oldest surviving English place name in the U.S.)
The Badlands, South Dakota 8 of 22
This is a perfect example of a terrible name for a wonderful place; the Badlands in South Dakota are beautiful. I mean, if I were crossing the Badlands on foot back in the 1600s, I may have been on team 'TOTAL BAD LAND' but today? Pretty.
When my mom told us we were going to the Badlands when I was a kid, I figured we were going to some famous junkyard where shady characters hung around in the shadows.
Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah 9 of 22
This is the place that inspired this whole post; when I went as a kid, I was expecting piles of dead horses all over the place. (Which was horrifying to my 10-year-old mind.)
It was used as a natural corral by cowboys in the 19th century. With three sides being sheer rock cliffs, one would only have to build one fence to keep horses contained, right?
One fence + three sheer rock cliffs = dead horses.
You lose cowboys, try again.
Cumming, Georgia 10 of 22
If this one doesn't make you giggle a little, then that is either your Aunt Louise or you are still a tender innocent flower.
Drain, Oregon 11 of 22
Making this list was draining.
Drain, Drain, go away, Cumming, Georgia another day.
I could go all day.
Bong Recreation Area, Wisconsin 12 of 22
Climax, Michigan 13 of 22
Lizard Lick, North Carolina 14 of 22
Euren/Dyckesville, Wisconsin 15 of 22
More importantly, Euren is a fairly common last name.
One I would not have taken had it been my beloved's last name. (No offense, honey.)
Muddy Boggy Creak/Clear Boggy Creek/Sandy Boggy Creek, Oklahoma 16 of 22
Apparently the gentlemen in charge of naming three creeks in Oklahoma had somewhere very important to be on naming day. "Eh, they're all boggy, so let's call that one clear, that one muddy, and that one sandy. Boom! Done, let's go get a beer."
Cape Disappointment, Washington 17 of 22
One hundred and six days of fog a year.
No thank you, Washington. Indiana's five months of winter are enough of a disappointment for me already.
Bloody Basin Creek, Arizona 18 of 22
Named after a bloody fight between Apache Indians and U.S. troops in 1873, the name 'Bloody Basin' makes me want to go back, slap those boys upside the head and say "QUIT IT. GET ALONG. LET THIS PLACE BE NAMED SOMETHING NICE, LIKE GET-ALONG CREEK OR SOMETHING."
Intercourse, Pennsylvania 19 of 22
I would hope the people living in either Intercourse, Pennsylvania or Intercourse, Alabama have a swell sense of humor.
Toad Suck, Arkansas 20 of 22
Hell, Michigan 21 of 22
Get it? Wish you were here? In Hell?
Apparently a very popular postcard from this particular location.
Zero, Mississippi 22 of 22
Not listed but worth of mentioning: Hooker, OK; Assawoman, MD; Belchertown, MA; Roachtown, IL; and Monkey’s Eyebrow, KY.
What places near you would you consider poorly named?
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.