Monday, November 12, 2012

Arkansas

Arkansas …  Um, yeah, Arkansas …  All I can think of Bill Clinton, WalMart, and chickens.  Sorry.

10. Y City

Wikipedia says it all:

Y City is an unincorporated community in Scott County, Arkansas, United States. It is located at the junction of U.S. Routes 71 and 270 in the southern part of the county.

And that’s the whole entry.


9. Crumrod

I’m not totally sure this place ever existed.  All I can find on it is all the services that it doesn’t have on all those websites that were set up as service directories by simply creating a separate page for every stinking place in the U.S.  Here, here’s what I’m talking about:
  • Crumrod, AR Weather Conditions & Forecast
  • Crumrod - Find a Lawyer
  • Best Places to Live in Crumrod (zip 72328), Arkansas
  • Crumrod Banks
  • Latest Obituaries in Crumrod Arkansas
  • Crumrod, AR - Modular Homes
  • Find Crumrod Plumbers
  • Crumrod Urologists - Urology near Crumrod, AR (Arkansas)
  • Crumrod dating, Crumrod singles, Crumrod chat at Matchmaker.com
  • Wedding DJs in Crumrod, AR, Arkansas
  • Crumrod Balloon Twisters - Gigmasters
And none of these have anything listed for them (at least not in Crumrod).

As there seem to be other possible Crumrods in the US (Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Michigan, Montana, Tennessee, and Texas), I really want to get to the bottom of where this name might possibly come from.  Can you help me?  I’m stumped.


8. Arkadelphia

The town fathers were divided.  Some wanted New Yark.  Others opted for Chicarko.  And some favored Los Arkeles and Warkington.  In the end, though, Arkadelphia won out.

Believe it or not, Arkadelphia was named after another town, of the same name, in Alabama.  Stories conflict on the origin of that one, but it sounds like it was named after a nearby town called Ark, to which the “adelphia” of Philadelphia was added rather randomly.  Whether settlers of Arkadelphia, AR were originally from their Alabama namesake or whether it just seemed an especially good fit with their new state is something that likely will go disputed and unknown forever.

While we’re here, here’s a special shout-out to Texarkana, another terrible portmanteau word (but at least one that makes a little sense).


 When this is the “hero shot” on your website’s 
homepage, you know you’re in trouble

7. Dowdy

No surer way to attract business than to name your town something like Dowdy.  You could have a Dowdy Motel, a Dowdy Café, a Dowdy City Hall, and a House of Dowdy Fashion.  Unfortunately, I’m afraid there doesn’t appear to be anything in the actual Dowdy other than a bend in the road.

Turns out the town was named after a Mr. Dowdy, who is now unfortunately lost in the mists of time.  The name itself comes from the Irish O Dubhda (the Irish aren’t very good at spelling), which itself derives from the Gaelic word for “black.”


6. Flippin

Originally called Friggin, Flippin changed its name when the Post Office encouraged the local citizens to “tone it down a bit.”

Actually, Flippin is a last name, ultimately derived from the first name Phillip.  According to the town’s website, www.flippinweb.com:


Named for the Thomas Flippin family and incorporated in 1921, the town of Flippin welcomes its visitors, businesses and industries into their Flippin family.

Flippin yeah!


 Flippin right, Godammit!

5. Ink

According to legend, Ink was named by the dumbest post master ever.  Seems this guy saw “write in ink” on the application to the Post Office for a town name form and simply did as he was told.

No one’s really sure why Ink was chosen.  It was actually the town’s second choice.  The first was Melon, but that seems to have already been taken.

Like many of the other towns here, there’s not a lot out there on – or, it seems, to – Ink. 


4. Old Jenny Lind

There are actually towns called Jenny Lind in North Carolina and California as well.  Turns out Jenny was a famous singer – the “Swedish Nightingale” – who toured the U.S. for two years in the 1850s.  I guess it was the antebellum equivalent of the British Invasion, with little burgs all over the place unable to resist associating themselves with this paragon of culture with a capital C.
 

Young Jenny Lind                                       Old Jenny Lind

3. Oil Trough

This sounds unattractive enough to begin with.  But when you learn that the oil was from rendered bear fat, you might want to avoid all of north central Arkansas just to make sure you don’t accidentally end up anywhere close to this place.

Wikipedia has almost nothing to say about Oil Trough except for the following:

Odell Pollard, a retired attorney from Searcy and the Arkansas Republican Party chairman from 1966–1970, graduated from Oil Trough High School.

“Hi, I’m Odell Pollard, and I’m from Oil Trough, Arkansas.”  Man!  What a way to go through life.
 

This babe lives in Oil Trough – and wants to meet you!
(from www.farmersonly.com, a dating site for … 
are you ready? … farmers only)

2. Possum Grape

Except for the Arkansas flavor of “possum,” this just seems like someone thumbed through the dictionary to find two random nouns.  Kinda like “Cheese Cloud,” or “Kazoo Meat,” or “Memory Frog,” or “Stew Beard.”  Go ahead, try it yourself.  It’s fun!

Unfortunately, the real story is much less interesting.  Turns out there is a kind of wild grape, Vitis cinerea var. baileyana, commonly called the “possum grape,” and prevalent throughout the South (and particularly so in the western part of Jackson County, Arkansas, I would presume).
 

Downtown Possum Grape

1. Smackover

Would you believe it’s French?  This may be my favorite name origin story of all.  Turns out this place was originally called Sumac Couvert – Frenchie for “stand of sumac trees.”  Simple enough.  

Now, take that fine French phrase and run it through the Arkansas Hillbilly Translatin’ Machine™ for a good 200 years, and guess what you get?  Yup, Smackover.  I am not making this up.

Smackover got its start as an oil camp, and is now the home of the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources.  It’s also the hometown of Sleepy LeBeef, a rock-a-billy pioneer.

The local high school team is known as the Buckaroos.  Yup, the Smackover Buckaroos.  Why be something boring like the Falcons or the Eagles or the Tigers when you can combine your weird town name with an even weirder mascot?

This is a picture of the Buckaroos’ “beautiful girl cheerleaders” 
I found on Google Images.  They kind of remind me of the 
iCandy Dancers, at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino.

Honorable Mention:

  • Short and sweet – Rye, Roe, Rudy, Rena, Ida, Oni, Ola, Otto, Ozan, Oark, Ulm, Clow, Keo, Moko, Lono, Nebo, Alco, Aly, Amy, Huff, Tull, Ladd, Bay, Guy, Alf, Ben, Hon
  • B-o-r-i-n-g – Little Rock, Arkansas City, Junction City, Midway, Centerville, Center Point, Central, Center, Camp, Burg
  • Numerically oriented – Three Corners, Three Brothers, Fifty-Six (after the local school district), Number Nine, Four Gums (I only have two), Figure Five, One Horse Store
  • Just a little out of place – too darn many
  • Just a little off-color – Fannie, Hooker, Beaver, Cooter, Pleasure Heights (too bad it wasn't Heights of Pleasure)
  • Orthographically challenged – Parkin, Furlow, Nuckles, Norfork, Tokio
  • Atypical adjectives – Rich, Strong, Marble, Rocky, Hardy, Hasty, Floral, Light, Calmer, Coy, Prim, Gravelly, Graphic
  • Uncoventional verbs – Hunt, Peel, Push, Tarry, Twist
  • Abnormal nouns – Empire, Joy, Delight, Romance, Ratio, Bonanza, Wing, Ozone, Forum, Driver, Vendor, Loafer, Umpire, Catcher, Cash, Cord, Nail, Saddle, Slovak, Snowball, Strawberry, Acorn, Caraway, Tulip, Tomato, Tyro, Possum, Pansy, Peanut, Stamps, Magazine, Story, Reader (there’s a theme to those last three)
  • Fun to say – Humnoke, Bodcaw, Botkinburg, Relfs Bluff, Sturkie, Drasco, Freck, Zent, Timbo, Tontitown, Tyronza
  • Just plain weird – Gin City, Sulphur City, Social Hill, Greene High, Hurricane Grove, Evening Shade, Sweet Home, Welcome Home, Lost Corner, Vanity Corner, Natural Dam, Natural Steps, Marked Tree, Back Gate, Ash Flat, Pencil Bluff, Big Fork, Board Camp, Blue Ball, Blue Eye, Birdsong, Birdeye, Buffalo City, Bee Branch, Bullfrog Valley, Hog Jaw, Hog Eye, Turkey Scratch (home of Band member Levon Helm), Little Flock, Goobertown, Hicksville, Yellville, Whiskerville, Hempwallace, De Queen, Overcup, Stinking Bay, Standard Umpstead, Needmore, Bald Knob, Dogpatch, and, of course, Toad Suck
  • I'd like you to meet – Tilly, Rosie, Ralph, Floyd, Harvey, Norman, Bruno, Bono, Ben, Ben Hur, Ben Lomond, Shannon Hills, Holly Springs, Old Milo
  • Stars fell on … Arkansas? – Evening Star, Morning Star, Red Star, Star City
  • Ghost towns – Peterpender, Paraclifta

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