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Georgia Towns: What Were They Thinking??

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Sometimes ya just gotta wonder about how towns got their names. Take Georgia, for instance. I was born here, and I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve heard the names of many towns and cities in the state since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and never really thought too much about it until the past couple of years. Guess I’m getting old and bored. Recently, however, I’ve begun to wonder, what in heck were they thinking when they named that place?

Georgia seems bent on extremes when it comes to the names of her towns. Either they have no originality at all, or they’re so unique as to seem strange and often un-pronounceable to outsiders. As for the totally unoriginal names copied from other places or fictitious characters, we have the following:

Vienna (pronounced vi-enner)

Alamo

Aragon

Athens

Rome

Berlin (BER-lin – not like in Germany)

Eldorado (el der a der)

Albany (all benny)

Dublin

Nashville (naish vul)

Jacksonville

Valdosta ( after Val d’Aosta, in Italy)

Bannockburn

Boston

Cairo ( kay ro)

Cleveland

Columbus

Dallas

Denmark

Duluth

Egypt

Fargo

Harlem

Mystic

Sparta

Waterloo (I’m pretty sure this isn’t where Napoleon was defeated)

Santa Claus (makes it easy to take the kids to see Santa Claus)

And then there’s one that sounds like it was copied, but it wasn’t:  Lenox. Not like in England, but as in “lean ox.” The tiny town was named after a skinny cow, and they have a festival each fall to celebrate the humble beginnings.

So, actually, you can see the whole world without ever leaving Georgia. Who knew? You can tell your pals you went to Cairo for the weekend, or that you’re planning a trip to Rome. Or you’re going to do some shopping in Denmark. How does dinner in Vienna sound?

 

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the following:

Moniac

Pavo  (PAY vo)

Nankin

Mauk

Scooterville

Meldrim

Nahunta (nay HUN ner)

Kinderlou

Jakin

Hopeulikit

Inaha (EYE nuh haw)

Flovilla

Uvalda (you VAL duh)

Eastanollee

Euharlee

Willacoochee

Attapulgus

Chula

Clyo

Dacula (da KWEWL uh)

Alapaha

Gardi  (gard eye)

Ty Ty (tie tie)

Screven (screb m)

Resaca

Poulan:  I must share this story. This little town is pronounced like Poland, and it’s just down the road from Ty Ty. In 1939, a group of farmers were having coffee in Ty Ty’s Shack Café. Suddenly, a local bursts in all excited, exclaiming, “The Germans just invaded Poland!”  The startled farmers jumped up, saying, “Oh, my God! I gotta get home and get my shotgun! They’ll be here before lunch!”

Ludowici (LOO duh WISS ee): Another true story. Once a northern couple was passing through this hamlet on the way to Savannah, and they stopped at the local Dairy Queen to get a burger. The man steps up to the counter and says to the young girl behind it, “I want you to pronounce the name of this place very slowly for me.” She looks at him strangely and says, “Daaiirryy Queeen.”

In addition to its unoriginal and wacky names, I think Georgia has the most beautiful name for a town in the whole world: Rising Fawn. This small town is located in the northwest corner of the state, an area of steep hills, canyons, gulches, creeks, and rushing waterfalls. Just the name brings to my mind misty mountains, verdant woods, and early Native Americans. Rising Fawn is home to Cloudland Canyon State Park, one of the most scenic spots in Georgia.

 

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Comments

winfong1 on January 12, 2013:

Great stuff. Here's another blog post along the same lines:

http://reallyweirdplacenames.blogspot.com/2012/12/...

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on December 05, 2010:

Yeah, Jan - I think it's a Southern "thang"! lol

JanSlagell from North Carolina on December 01, 2010:

I spent most of my life in Georgia and have always been amused by many unique and colorful names. I now live another Southern state where city names are just as interesting. Thanks for a great article- I enjoyed it!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on February 05, 2010:

Interesting, Janie! I read that Adel was named after PhilADELphia??

janie Hopwood on February 04, 2010:

Some of the towns were named by the railroaders who were lonesome for their sweethearts. Cordele after Cordelia, Adel after Adele, ect. Enigma is the most interesting according to rumor.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on January 06, 2010:

That's right, Pam. Many of the names are Native American. Thanks for visiting!

Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on January 05, 2010:

I'll just bet you many of those unusual names are Native American they sound like they are. It's fun to research and find out where names came from. We have some funny ones here in Oklahoma too.

Great blog.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on December 21, 2009:

Glad you enjoyed it, Coolmon! Thanks for reading!

Coolmon2009 from Texas, USA on December 21, 2009:

Haven't been to Georgia yet, but I sure I will sooner or later. I thought we had strange names here in Texas, will have to note the names when the day comes I am driving though Georgia in route to Florida. Good Hub very interesting

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on December 15, 2009:

Isn't that a beautiful name for a town? So glad you took the time to read and comment!

The Rope from SE US on December 15, 2009:

I think I've hit almost every one of these in my meanderings EXCEPT Rising Fawn! I can't wait to drive through there. I stand in awe - I thought I knew Georgia backwards and forwards. Thanks for a great read!

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on November 11, 2009:

Yep, Randy lives in an even smaller town that makes Adel and Sparks look like large cities!

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on November 11, 2009:

Well Mit, the Adel (pronounced A-dell) city limits abuts the city limits of Sparks, thus the saying "Adel is so close to hell you can see Sparks." I live in the same county as these two little towns. Actually, Hahira is probably closer to ten miles from Sparks but there are many such references to the town of Sparks. LOL

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on November 11, 2009:

I used to live in Sparks! Thanks for visiting!

Mit Kroy from Georgia,USA on November 11, 2009:

My dad told me a story about the little town of Sparks,Ga.(which is only two miles or so from Hahira,Ga.)A friend of his, who lived in Hahira said,"He lived so close to hell;He could see sparks."

One of the reasons the names sound like they do is because their Creek,Cherokee,and Choctaw.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on September 26, 2009:

Randy, Lenox is sacred only because it is your dwelling place.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on September 26, 2009:

What, you're throwing off on Lenox? Is nothing sacred anymore?

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on September 26, 2009:

True! If I included all those, I could fill an entire book!

Ellen_C on September 26, 2009:

next thing is just to then add the "unincorporated" onto the end of it lol! I grew up in GA and know what you are talking about with these names..

Alfreta Sailor from Southern California on September 26, 2009:

From one Georgia girl to another Georgia girl, you know I ofter laugh about some of the names too. What about some of the areas of some of the towns, such as Peeridge, Stumptown, Walleskee, Cabbagetown. The spelling may be wrong, but that's the correct pronunciation. Very cute hub. I had toyed with the idea of writing a hub about Georgia, now I think I will go ahead and do it.

Holle Abee (author) from Georgia on September 25, 2009:

Thanks! Yep, I believe the residents are called Spartans!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 25, 2009:

nice information about those city. I looks wonderful city. I'll go there someday.

Waren E from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............ on September 25, 2009:

The town named Sparta..LOL

like from the movie 300!

Are the people who live there called Spartans by the other locals,cause that would be neat!:)

Great hub habee thanks for sharing!:D

ralwus on September 25, 2009:

Good stuff here. thanks for sharing it. Love the anecdotes at the end too. Daaiirryy Queeen, hehe

We have Knockemstiff and Rat along with some of yours. Love Georgia, it's all red though. lol