15 Hilarious Town Names Across the U.S.
You’ve surely heard the phrase, “When Hell freezes over.” Well, that’s not such a far-fetched proposition if you’re from the town in Michigan actually named Hell.
ZigZag, Oregon, got its name from a river that zig-zags its way through the landscape. And Good Grief, Idaho received a salute on the vintage TV show “Hee Haw” for “having a population of three with two dogs and one old grouch.”
What about other places across the U.S. where people get laughs and maybe even some odd looks when they tell others where they live? We’ve scoured the country to find 15 of the craziest, zaniest, funniest town names in America.
Bat Cave, North Carolina
Sounds like a place for Batman and Robin to hang out, but in reality, this unincorporated community in Western North Carolina got its name from the variety of bats that make their home in a cave on Bluerock Mountain. And it’s not just any cave — it’s North America’s largest known granite fissure cave, protected by The Nature Conservancy.
Public hiking has been discontinued on the property in an effort to prevent the spread of white nose syndrome in the bats. But if you’re looking for a silly photo-op, it may still be worth hitting up this town within a half hour’s drive of Asheville, N.C.
Booger Hole, West Virginia
It seems that the town name of Booger Hole morphed out of the term “boogieman.” People used that nickname in the early 1900s to describe athank you mysterious figure responsible for a spate of murders and disappearances.
Townspeople who were weary of the fear and trepidation in their community formed the Clay County Mob and posted notice in the newspaper stating they intended to drive murder and mayhem out of their community.
The announcement said, in part, “We have pledged our lives to drive these people from our county or kill them… If before you leave, there is any stealing, killing or burning, we will get the blood-hounds and detectives and run you to the ends of the earth.”
That put an end to the violence, but the mysterious tales and the town’s name remain.
Gold miners settled here in the late 19th century, and it remains one of the few gold rush towns in Alaska.
When the town was incorporated in 1902, someone suggested calling it Ptarmigan, which was the name of a bird found in the area that looks like a chicken. It later became the state bird. Trouble was, no one knew how to spell Ptarmigan, so they used Chicken instead.
You won’t find many residents here. The 2010 census listed 7 people, but flocks of miners still come into the area during the summers. It’s a place without electricity, phones or internet, if you can imagine, but the town does have a post office, bar, gift shop and café.
Ding Dong, Texas
According to legend, a practical joke led to this town’s name. Bert and Zulis Bell founded the town in the 1930s and operated a country store. They needed a sign, so they hired a painter to create one for their store.
Another store owner urged the painter to play a joke. He suggested painting two bells on the sign with Bert’s name on one and Zulis’s name on the other, and adding the words “Ding Dong” underneath.
The painter followed his lead, finished the sign, and the Bells put it up. From then on, townspeople called the place Ding Dong.
The unincorporated community is situated on the Lampasas River eight miles south of Killeen in Central Texas.
Hot Coffee, Mississippi
You’ve got to love a town that has a history of love for a good cuppa Joe. In the late 1800s, storekeeper L.N. Davis hung a coffee pot as a form of advertising on the outside of his store along with the words, “the best hot coffee around.”
He didn’t just brew coffee beans with spring water, he also put in a touch of molasses, which made his coffee distinctive and memorable. The coffee was so good that people would come back to town — located between Natchez and Mobile — for another hot cup of his delicious concoction. And thus, a silly town name was born.
This town has had to invest in additional signs throughout the years, as it is often the target of thieves who think the name is funny. Originally called Cross Keys in the mid 1700s, the name changed to Intercourse in 1814. But townspeople didn’t consider it a sexual term at that time.
They may have chosen the name because the town was located at the intersection of two major roads. Or it could have reflected the original meaning of intercourse, which described fellowship and social interaction in a community of faith.
Modern-day travelers to the area think it’s especially humorous that Intercourse is located about eight miles from the town of Blue Ball, Pennsylvania, named after the Blue Ball Hotel (torn down in 1997).
Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky
Apparently, this unincorporated community got its moniker because people said that from the air, Ballard County resembled a monkey’s head, and this town is where the eyebrow would be. Another theory posits that the town itself looked like a monkey’s eyebrow when viewed from a nearby hill.
However it got its name, it rates a lot of laughs from visitors and locals alike. Distance-wise, you’ll find it about a half hour from Paducah.
Kentucky is a treasure trove of amusingly named towns, including Pig, Hippo, Chicken Bristle, Mud Lick and Krypton.
Coming up with an acceptable town name proved frustrating in one Missouri town in the 1800s. Townspeople came up with three different names and the postmaster submitted them, but all were rejected because they were already in use.
The postmaster sent a letter to the Postmaster General saying, “We don’t care what name you give us so long as it’s sort of Peculiar.”
The Postmaster General responded, “In all the land it would be difficult to imagine a more distinctive, a more peculiar name than Peculiar.” And so it was. Peculiar became the official town name.
Pee Pee, Ohio
Some early-day graffiti led to this town’s comical name. As the story goes, a man by the name of Peter Patrick carved his initials into a tree — P.P . — and over the years it became known as Pee Pee as well as Pee Pee Creek.
The area was tied to the Underground Railroad, with Pee Pee Settlement known as a free African-American community.
Some residents will say they live in the neighboring town of Waverly to avoid the jokes that follow when you tell someone you live in Pee Pee.
Santa Claus, Indiana
Name a town after the Jolly Old Elf and mail will come — lots of it.
The Santa Claus, Indiana post office opened officially in 1856. James Martin, the town’s 14th postmaster, began mailing response letters from “Santa” at his own expense in 1914.
But the letter-writing didn’t really take off until Robert Ripley of Ripley’s Believe it or Not published a cartoon featuring the town’s post office in the 1930s.
This town was originally called Santa Fe, but there was already a town in Indiana by that name. It was a cold December night as townsfolk gathered to discuss a name. Children shouted “Santa Claus!” when they heard jingle bells, and that became the moniker.
Today, the town is home to many Christmas-themed businesses, making this a great, kitschy road-trip stop.
Scratch Ankle, Alabama
People here were often seen scratching their ankles to relieve itching from mosquito, flea or black-gnat bites, leading to a very literal town name.
A few years ago, one resident was quoted by the local TV station as saying, “If you roll up your pants and sit out in the afternoon, you’d call it Scratch Ankle too.”
The town of some 200 residents is located about 80 miles southwest of Montgomery.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
In the 1950s, there was a radio/TV quiz show called “Truth or Consequences.” Contestants tried to answer trivia questions before “Beulah the Buzzer” sounded. If they were wrong, they had to pay the consequences, such as performing a zany stunt.
On one show, the announcer, Ralph Edwards, said the 10th anniversary show would be broadcast from the first town that renamed itself Truth or Consequences. Officials in Hot Springs, New Mexico quickly said “We will!”
The town’s name was officially changed on March 31, 1950, just in time for the live broadcast on April 1.
Geographic locators often play a role in how a town is identified. In this case, people referred to the place as “Y” because it was at a Y-shaped intersection of two roads.
This was changed to the word “Why” when Arizona law required the names of places to be a minimum of three letters.
Why is located 30 miles from the Mexican border and just north of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a gorgeous desert preserve worth visiting.
Whynot, North Carolina
Sometimes finding the right town name can be tiring and even exasperating. That’s what happened in the Piedmont region of North Carolina when residents debated what to call the place.
One person would say “Why not call it this.” Another would say “Why not call it something else.” Growing frustrated, one man said, “Why not call it ‘Why Not’ so we can go home.” It stuck.
Originally it was two words, but it changed to one word over the years. It’s located on N.C. 705, also called “North Carolina Pottery Highway.” The road is known for its community of potters and historic outposts like Jugtown Pottery, founded in 1921 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Quack doctor Curtis H. Springer and his wife claimed the land for Zzyzx by filing a mining claim for 12,800 acres of public space in 1944. They then enticed tourists and those seeking better health to their “Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Resort.”
The name was chosen for the marketing campaign “last word of health,” so it would literally be last in any directory listing.
After running his business for 30 years, the federal government finally realized Springer didn’t have a legitimate claim to the land and evicted him in 1974. He was also sent to jail for a short period for bogus health claims. He had been dubbed “King of Quacks” by the American Medical Association.
Zzyzx is currently the site of the Desert Studies Center, which is a field station of the California State University.
As for how to pronounce it? That would be Zye-Zex.