During the settlement days of the United States, there were several opposite tendencies in choosing what to name a town. There was the safe strategies, either naming the place after older European cities (Paris, Rome, Syracuse, New Orleans, Moscow, etc.), naming after some historical figure (Washington, Lincoln, Franklin, Houston, Jackson), or giving some commendatory, appealing name (Happy Valley, Pleasant Grove, Golden Meadow, Oakland), or others of this type.
But there's the occasional accidental (Nome, AK) or risky choices. Consider Placerville, CA. It was originally known as Hangtown because of some hangings there; and I don't mean etchings or oils, either. Well, Placerville does not help in selling real estate, but it's not as bad as Hangtown. Or take Baton Rouge. somehow, the French name passes for mildly exotic, while Red Stick lacks something entirely! Surely some people in Deadwood, SD wish the place has a less stark name! In general, these less discrete place names were probably adopted during the time in which the frontier was in flux; and large numbers of irreverent young men were participants in the naming process.
To use some risqué examples, a number of locales, especially geographical features, bear names featuring feminine body parts, especially breasts: Grand Tetons, Teton River, Maggie's Nipples, Brassiere Hills (near Juneau Alaska), and so forth. At any rate, more boob than butt fans were involved in the naming process. Butte, MT is not a misspelling. Frontier mores were ill-disposed to honor male features. A locale in Eastern Oregon was once known as Whorehouse Meadows (according to the Bureau of Land Management) because frontier working girls pitched their tents there. It's also known as Naughty Girl Meadows (according to the U.S. Geological Survey). Such is the modern tendency to put lipstick on the pig or socks on the rooster.
And, most notably, there was an absence of present-day real estate developers, who lean to the safe and secure choices.
3974 - Long joke Sunday
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