Saturday, July 7, 2007

Welcome to Mars

I love to set my stories in small towns -- probably because that's all I've ever known (I still live in my small hometown). One thing I like to try and do is give my fictional towns names that are unique, funny, or somehow reflect the story's theme or the characters' conflicts. But as we all know, unique, funny, and/or sometimes downright weird town names don't just exist in fiction. Here are some REAL towns in my home state of Pennsylvania:

Mars
Apollo
Indiana
California
Washington
Ohiopyle
Houston
Denver
Berlin
Dublin
Belfast
Bagdad
Moscow
Bethlehem
Nazareth
Egypt
Jim Thorpe
King of Prussia
Intercourse (yes, for real)
Shickshinny
Eighty Four
Forty Fort
Bird-In-Hand
Bushkill
Paradise
Oil City
Slippery Rock
Jersey Shore
Blue Bell
Media
Plymouth Meeting
Burnt Cabins
Birdsboro
Three Springs
Yellow Springs
Boiling Springs
Sinking Spring
Roaring Spring
What about you? Any funny or unusual town names in your area? Or a memorable fictional town name from a book?


15 comments:

Christie Kelley said...

How fun, Beth. Especially since I lived in PA for a year but we go through it all the time to get back to my homestate of New York. Intercourse and Jim Thorpe are two of my favorite PA town names.

New York has a few good ones too.

1. Horseheads
2. Painted Post
3. Cazenovia
4. Cincinnatus
5. Vestal
6. Warsaw
7. Busti (don't ask)
8. Fishs Eddy

jo lewis-robertson said...

Beth, what a clever topic to blog about. Intercourse, ha! We Austenites know, of course, that intercourse also means interactive conversation.

The county I live in is Placer Co., but I named the fictional county of my trilogy, Bigler County for the man whose journal entry provided the date for the discovery of California gold. I always thought the poor guy got short shrift.

Aunty Cindy said...

In keeping with Christine's claim that Aunty has been EVERYWHERE (not quite, not NZ nor South America...YET!), I have been in Bird-In-Hand and it is an ADORABLE little town with lots of Amish crafts and food (or was when I visited there a few years back).

Here in California we have TONS of Spanish names (all those Sans and Santas) but we do have a few unique ones, mostly from the Gold Rush Days. Roaring Camp immediately comes to mind. And everyone's heard of Angels Camp (thanx to Mark Twain). Just up the road a short distance, Placerville was called Hangtown (yes, for obvious reasons) until about 75 years ago. My favorite names are on I-5 headed north toward Oregon -- Weed, California and a tiny town called Hilt.

AC

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Beth, there are some good ones there. I'm sure we have any number of them in Australia, but one that sticks in my mind most is in England, called Buckfastleigh. Say that ten times quickly and you might get into trouble!

Trish Milburn said...

A couple of funny ones from Tennessee are Bugscuffle and Bucksnort. Where I grew up in Western Kentucky had Monkey's Eyebrow and Possum Trot.

Keira Soleore said...

I haven't stopped laughing since reading this post.

I would like to meet people who live in Intercourse, Bagdad, Bushkill, Burnt Cabins, Busti, Vestal, and Monkey's Eyebrow.

I don't have any doozies to contribute though. We Washingtonians seem to be a rather staid lot.

Beth said...

Christie, although I've never been to either, I love the names Busti and Fishs Eddy. I might have to consider a road trip *g*

Very clever name for your fictional county, Jo! And one that gives credit where credit is due
:-)

Yes, AC, Bird-In-Hand is in Amish Country as is Intercourse *g* LOL on Hangtown! I guess I can't blame them for changing it but the writer in me would've kept the original name :-)

Beth said...

LOL, Christine! I can't help but wonder who came up with that tongue twister of a town name? I'm sure there's a funny story behind it though *g*

Oh my, Trish! Bugsnort and Monkey's eyebrow - are there many monkeys in Kentucky? - had me cracking up!

Keira, I think it's probably a good thing Washinton's town names are staid, I'm not sure the country could handle too many towns called Weed or Possum Trot
;-)

Joan said...

Oh, Beth. The monkeys are rampant here in the Bluegrass State. (Esp. when they've gotten into the corn liquer)

My mother grew up in Springfield, KY not far from Bardstown. In between is...well, not a BIG town...but one called Bear Wallow.

Nobody could answer me when I asked if Bear's Wallowed there. LOL

And AC ....the post will be on its way tomorrow...promise!

Caren Crane said...

Beth, here in North Carolina, they specialize in odd names. Among the most unpronounceable, though, is Rutherfordton. As Christine said, try to say that one three times fast!

And I've been to Indiana, PA! It's in Indiana County, matter of fact. AND it was the home of Jimmy Stewart! I was there with my last (unlamented) job doing a software install for the Indiana Co Water Authority. Nice ladies! I was there in April and it snowed...

A few weird names in NC:

Booger Mountain
Toast
Lizard Lick
Conetoe
Mar-Mac
Stem
Pumpkin Center
Turkey Neck
Advance (emphasis on the AD)
Welcome
Gay
Beulahville
Tobaccoville
Kill Devil Hills
Duck
Bunn
Stumpy Point
Bat Cave
Possum Trot
Tick Bite
Perfection
Sandy Bottoms
Fields Of The Woods
Loafer's Glory

and everyone's favorite: CLIMAX!

Man, in NC, you could play that game all day long! There are lots, lots more. We didn't even touch the Indian names.*g*

I think, Kieran, that they got much of the goofiness out of their systems by the time settlers reached Washington. They had already branded the rest of the country, so why bother?*g*

Suzanne Welsh said...

Well, in Texas there's Waxahachee, ( I call it whosewhatchit).

Plano...where I live, I think it was once, Plain-ole Texas, then shrunk to Plano, but that's a guess.

In Tennessee, there's a Flag Pond and in Ohio a Salt Fork. My favorite in Kentucky is Big Sandy...is there a Little Sandy?

Deb Marlowe said...

OMG, Beth, we really are soul sisters! I'm FROM Washington PA and have been to most of those towns, including Mars! How weird!

And Caren, how could you forget our own little Fuquay Varina, NC?

Fun!

Caren Crane said...

Deb Marlowe, how could I forget Fuquay-Varina? I think they used to be two towns (both with odd names) that grew together. Try to fit that on one of those forms with the little boxes. *g*

Beth said...

LOL, Joan! I've heard those monkeys get wild when they've had too much corn liquer! I suppose they smoked corn husks as well? *g*

Yes, Caren, Indiana PA is Jimmy Stewart's hometown! I believe they even decorate it like Bedford Falls at Christmas time *g* Do you suppose I could use Booger Mt as the town name in my new story? ;-)

Suz, I love the way Waxahachee sounds! We have a local (tiny) town called Kushequa. I just can't say that enough :-)

Deb, this is getting spooky *g* How fun that you're from PA and have been to Mars!

Michelle said...

I just got back from our family vacation to PA. And I will say i did visit Intercourse, PA. I thought it was so funny i broght my 22 yr old brother a shirt from there too. It is definately a topic starter.

As for Florida, we are not very original in our names. The only one I can even think of is Christmas, Fl. And it's so small, it'd be missing on most maps.