The Site of Unimaginative City Names
Upon a visit to Oregon City, Oregon it struck me how Unimaginative it is to name a city after a state. Off the top of my head I could think of at least half a dozen other such Unimaginatively Named Cities. Unimaginably idle curiosity prompted a search for the rest, resulting in yet another Unimaginably pointless repository of something-or-other here at Deuce of Clubs.
If you live in or know of an Unimaginatively Named City (one named after a state, that is -- a site's got to have *some* focus), you can turn the name of your Unimaginatively Named City into a live link at left by sending a photo of your Unimaginatively Named City, or the history of how your Unimaginatively Named City was unimaginatively named, or something else noteworthy or of general interest or imaginative about your Unimaginatively Named City.
Wes Peters contends:
You really should include the city facing it across the border:
Mexicali, in the Mexican state of Frontera Baja California.
DoC acknowledges the oversight.
Dan Bosserman reveals:
I’ve enjoyed your list immensely, but it’s worth pointing out that your original premise is based on 180-degree misunderstanding. Oregon City is NOT named after the state of Oregon, as it pre-dates Oregon statehood. Oregon City was in fact the first incorporated city west of the Rockies, and was named so because it was the very first city in the Oregon territory, which included what is now Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and parts of Montana, California, and British Columbia. Oregon City was the logical name for it. A little-known bit of history is that San Francisco got its corporation papers from the Oregon City courthouse.
By the way, I live in Boring, Oregon, and am on the board of directors of the Boring Community Planning Organization, which last year tried to achieve a bit of legal status as a “village,” but lost by 3 votes. I also write extensively for the E.Clackamas County Gazette, which publishes from Sandy, Oregon, six miles down the road.
DoC responds: many a great undertaking is founded upon error. or so i will claim from now on.
btw, we originally went to boring because we'd heard there was a place called "the boring strip club." we found no such thing.
According to Keith T.:
This may not quite fit in with your list, but Federal Way, Washington was named for the fact that a US highway (i.e. "a federal way") goes through the area. That's such an unimaginative place name that it isn't even a place name in my opinion; it's a road name.
Also just to the north is Des Moines, WA.
Steve Byers points out:
One city conspicuously missing from your list is...Arkansas City, Kansas (the emphasis is on Kansas - pronounced R Kansas City) named after the Arkansas River (which is called the R Kansas river in Kansas).
Says Walt H.:
I live in Sierra Vista, Arizona, just 25 miles from Naco. Most residents here agree that it owes its name to the last two letters in Arizona and Mexico, going back to the late 1800s, when the border town was established. However, there is an interesting article in the local newspaper from last April that examines other possible sources for the name.
I think you will find article, and spanish insult "naco" interesting...
I have a few of clarifications for your site. First, Washington, UT and Washington City, UT are, in fact, the same place. It just depends on how formal the map, sign, atlas, or index is that you are looking at.
Second, Idaho Falls, ID isn’t, itself, unimaginatively named. At least, not after the state. The waterfall (itself not very impressive, being only a few feet high) was unimaginatively named after the state. The city was unimaginatively named after the waterfall. So, it’s a doubly unimaginatively named place.
Third, any places named with ‘Colorado’ or ‘Nevada’ outside of those places, and/or in eastern states, just as likely they were named because of the Spanish meanings of the names: ‘Red’ (Colorado) and ‘Snow-capped’ or ‘Snow Covered’ (Nevada).
Just thought I’d share. I enjoyed browsing the site. It is now one of my repositories for random trivia.
Wyoming is just like Kansas, in that the state was named for an existing geographical feature, viz. the Wyoming Valley of northeastern Pennsylvania. The valley, which is partly traversed by the Susquehanna River, is the location of the cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. The towns of Wyoming in all the other states as well as the state itself are named for this valley. The name of valley is itself derived from a corruption of a Lenape term meaning "place of the big plain".
According to IrisLillie, Kansas City is not an unimaginatively named city but rather Kansas is an unimaginatively named state:
You have the city Kansas City, Missouri listed as cities named after other states...
If you were to give a darn... and most don't... you would find the city... Kansas City, was named BEFORE there was a state of Kansas...
In otherwords... Kansas the state is named after the city of Kansas City, MO...
Just so's you know.....
Marc M. adds:
not too terribly far from that oh-so-famous project x in xgrand rapids, mi is the quaint little town of alaska, mi. ain’t never been there. all I know about it is that it is a long-distance call from xgrand rapids, so I never did call that girl who gave me her phone number. years went by, and i ended up marrying a girl from wyoming, mi (i see that one is already on your list) – which, i’ll have you know, is not a long-distance call from xgrand rapids.
Marc adds further:
Whilst perusing your web page all about unimaginatively named cities and
such, I noted that you noted that Alaska is a state seemingly,
remarkably, free of Unimaginatively Named Cities (as defined).
Now that I've noted that I noted that you noted that, please note this:
I did not set out, as one might put it, to prove you wrong. I simply
was curious and wanted to see for myself. So I surfed over to
MapJaunt.com* where I began typing in, to begin with, state names. Holy
Horsemeat! (my apologies to you) Nearly every state in the Union has a
_creek_ named after it!
Nonetheless, you weren't looking for unimaginatively named creeks (maybe
another web page, another day). As I continued entering unimaginative
names, I encountered what I believe to be (though, admittedly, not by
your official definition criteria) the very utmostly unimaginatively,
not to mention uncommittedly and unpatriotically, just simply the most
UN-ly named city in the U.S.A -- Unalaska, Alaska.
That's just wrong.
Chris W. writes:
I applaud your list. I've been thinking about doing one for sometime (having lived too close to Illinois City, IL, and close enough to Iowa City, IA).
There is no Michigan City, MI. There is, however, a Michigan City, IN (very close to the border), and on the border, a Michiana. There's also a Michigan City, MS (according to Mapquest), but that looks to be less a town than a crossroads.
And as a sidenote, with Nevada, IA, it's pronounced Nuh VEH duh (long A sound), as opposed to Nuh VAH duh.
Keep up the good work
It doesn't quite fit into the list, but according to Ron S.:
There's a city called Mexico in Missouri. You have most of the ones in Missouri that I've heard of. Missouri is full of boring city names, but they have some funny ones, too. Like Tightwad, Missouri. Interesting web site.
Kayla C. points out:
there is also a Nevada City, California and a Washington City, California. very small. washington city is a one road town.
Glad to see my former hometown, Missouri City, Texas has made the list. Here are more submissions for the unimaginative city names list, subcategory- Cities Unimaginatively Named for OTHER states: Iowa Colony, Texas (It used to be a pretty notorious speedtrap. As I recall, not content to be just a speck on the map, the city annexed a stretch of highway (and little else) to become a speck on the map with a means to generate substantial traffic enforcement revenue.); also, its former neighbors were Ohio Colony, Texas and
Illinois Colony, Texas
BTW, at the bottom of the list, you have a section for States seemingly, remarkably, free of Unimaginatively Named Cities (as defined). It hardly seems fair to include New Hampshire and South Carolina on the list--those entire states are unimaginatively named.
California City, California and CalNevAri, Nevada
Ellen E. writes:
Your website on stupid city names is very entertaining - however, you should
realize that most cities and towns named "Wyoming" are named after an
Eastern native tribe (comes from the Algonquin or Delaware language).
Settlers going west took this name with them as they went.
In fact, the state of Wyoming is almost certainly named after the earlier
Wyomings from back east.
Not clear on the specifics, but Wyoming, New York is definitely not named
after the state of Wyoming.
Keep up the good work!
Dozens more contributed by Professor Cardyhouse
Rodney G., who gives us Nevada, Iowa, adds:
For what it's worth, they pronounce it differently than the state. In Iowa, it's Nuh-vay'-duh. The long "a" in the middle being the difference.
"In 1853, the Iowa legislature appointed Commissioners to locate a county seat for Story County. The Commissioners looked the county over and decided on a site in the vicinity of the center of the county. One of the Commissioners, Mr. Joseph Thrift, had been a "Forty-niner" in California, and in his journey across the continent had greatly admired the Sierra Nevadas; so he proposed the name Nevada to the new town. The town of Nevada was named ten years before the state of Nevada. Therefore, there seems to be no foundation to the claim that the town was named for the state."
Texico, New Mexico
Amal Cornholio presents us with Texico, Texas and Texoma, Texas
Sean says: Calexico has a ring to it. Same with Texarkana.
They're not in the same league as the current winner
of the award for All-Around Shittiest American Place
If "fart" wasn't spelled F-A-R-T, it would be spelled SeaTac. This is a crappy, latter-day invented "city" halfway between Seattle and Tacoma in Washington State. Go on, say it out loud a few times. Let your tongue take it for a spin around the block. It just gets shittier the more you consider it.
Nice collection, hope this makes the grade.
Cardhouse reminds me of the inexcusably overlooked Calexico, CA.
According to Randy N., "There are no fewer than ten cities, towns, or villages in the U.S. named Mexico. They are located in: Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and in Juniata County and Montour County, Pennsylvania. I can only vouch for the size of Mexico, Maine, which has a post office, a car dealership and a great dive diner called the Chicken Coop. I'm shocked by the appearance of two Mexicos in Pennsylvania. They're roughly 50 miles apart. Perhaps readers of DoC know of other instances of multiple identical town names in one state..."
Though we're actually looking for U.S. cities named after U.S. states, it's always refreshing to see other examples of unimagination.
Rin K. submits Kanorado, Kansas, which she says, "is rather blandly clever, no? It might actually be pulsing with genius -- I'm still undecided."
Missouri City, TX
Chris offers up Virginia, Minnesota; New York Mills, Minnesota; and Arkansaw, WI.
Stephen D. submits: Virginia Beach, Virginia; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; Wyoming, Michigan; Wyoming, Ohio; Wyoming, Minnesota
Tom A. submits three more Unimaginatively Named Cities that are nonetheless kind of Imaginative: "Tennga, Georgia (on the border of Georgia and Tennessee, close to where I grew up); Texarkana, Texas (everybody knows this one); Naco, Arizona (near your home! last two letters of Arizona and
Ryan S. submits an Unimaginatively Named City that is nonetheless kind of Imaginative
Doctor Brody inaugurates the Unimagination Mail Page
Marne G. suggests sleep deprivation is behind Iowa City, Iowa
Scott B. offers Indiana City, Pennsylvania info
Lazlo debunks Mexico City, New Mexico