Monday, February 18, 2013

Kentucky, A-K

Bluegrass.  Basketball.  Bourbon.  Ashley Judd.  The Derby.  Louisville Sluggers.  Ashley Judd.  Colonel Sanders.  My Old Kentucky Home ...  Did I mention Ashley Judd?

What a place.  Would you believe they had so many crazy towns that I had to divide ‘em in two?  Yup, A to K this week, and L to Z next week.  Stay tuned!

10. Airport Gardens

It’s not two things I typically associate together.  Gardens: calm, quiet, natural.  Airports: noisy, stressful, polluted.  It’s kind of like Factory Park, or maybe Freeway Grove, or Manhattan Meadows.

Well, there does seem to have been an airport there once.  Now, though, aviation has given way to education.  The former airport is currently the home of Perry County Central High and Viper Elementary.  Yup, Viper Elementary.  Hmm, I wonder what their mascot is.  The bulldogs?

AG is close to Hazard (see below), on a bend of the Kentucky River.  In addition to the schools, there’s also a shopping center, several dozen houses, and a McDonalds.  In other words, Airport Gardens is big time!

Airport Gardens, ca. 1955 
(with nary an airport nor garden in site)

9. Future City *

Not to be confused with West Future City (real place), which is just to … to the … wait a minute … just to the … to the …  to the left of Future City.  Yup, that’s right.  Er, I mean, correct.

Don’t seem to be able to find much on either of these places.  Future City is home, however, to Leigh’s Barbecue, which actually got written up in Southern Living.  So, next time I’m in the area, I know where I’m headed.

Interestingly, Future City is right next to the Barkley Regional Airport, which serves Paducah.  I wonder if anyone considered the name Airport City?  

Just stick it over there somewhere, would ya

8. Krypton

Where Superman is from.  A small town in the mountains of Kentucky.  Everyone knows that.

Okay, we’ve got two possibilities here:

  • It’s Greek for “hidden.”  This makes sense as it’s in the very mountainous southeast corner of the state.
  • The railroad depot there used krypton light bulbs.  Yup, krypton’s a real element, an inert gas with the symbol Kr.

Interestingly, it was know as Glenn until 1918.  It’s on the North Fork of the Kentucky River, just down the river from Butterfly and Typo (see below).

Home of the Krypton Brethren

7. Fleming-Neon

Dallas-Ft. Worth, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Winston-Salem …  And now?  Flaming-Neon!  Excuse me, I meant Flaming-Neuron.  Er, Flammable-Neutron.  I mean …

So, I think we can all understand Fleming.  And also that these two started out as two separate towns.  It’s the “Neon” that’s causing me trouble here.

Turns out “neon” is Greek for “new one,” which may be the most likely source for the town name.  Of course, we can’t rule out possible light sources either.  

But would you believe that Neon was formerly known as Chip?  Chip, Glenn …  I wouldn’t be surprised there weren’t a Chad and a Skip out there in the Bluegrass State too.

F-N is in the southeast corner of the state.  We’re talking about 800 people here.  It does have one famous daughter, Martha Carson, a gospel and country singer.


6. Black Gnat

From what I could find on the Internet, black gnats:
  • Are “pesky, tiny gnats that REALLY bite”
  • Are “a type of fly that has the ability and urge to bite.  Not only do they bite humans, but also any type of animal, including pets and birds.”
  • “Put a welt on your neck that lasts 4 or 5 days”
  • Left “me with wounds that resemble small pox and itch like the dickens”
  • “Can cause allergic reactions such as nausea or difficulty breathing, in which case you'd need to get medical help right away”
  • “Also spread pathogens and have caused river blindness in Africa and parts of North America”
  • Are “one of the biggest annoyances we have to face”
Hey, what’s not to like?  I’m kinda surprised more towns aren’t named after them.

According to a University of Kentucky site, the town was “named for the black gnats that stuck to the sides of a newly painted white schoolhouse.”  Not totally sure I’d want to name my town after what sounds suspiciously like a biblical plague, but hey ...

Black Gnat’s in the center of the state.  I can make out about a dozen houses and one big Baptist church. 

By the way, Kentucky also features a Black Gold, Black Jack, Black Snake, and Black Bottom.


5. Dog Walk

So, I’m guessing “Please pick up after your pet” is the town motto.

Actually, I have no idea where this one comes from.  There’s just not a whole lot on – or to – this place.  In fact, I couldn’t even find it on Google Maps.  Had to go to MapQuest instead – and that didn’t show me much of anything.  I do know it’s in the center of the state.

Interestingly, Dog Walk was the site of a Civil War battle.  An obscure one – and one that is alternatively referred to as the Battle of Chesser’s Store, Dry Ridge, and Salt River – but a battle nonetheless.  In fact, that battle has its own historical association, the Lawrenceburg-Dog Walk Battlefield Association, Inc. (or LDWBA for short).

Perhaps I haven't got the right place here …

4. Hi Hat

Let me cut straight to the explanation I found on this one (as it makes absolutely no sense at all):

As in ‘hello’ and not way up in the sky

It’s in the mountains, in the east, right along Big Mud Creek.  South Floyd High School (go Raiders!) is pretty near by, as is the Left Beaver Rescue Squad.  [insert sophomoric joke about sloppy seconds here]

3. Gap in Knob

Now, that’s gonna hurt. 

No, no, it’s not what you think.  From Weird Kentucky: “This area’s name refers to a topographic feature of the local terrain, but it’s still hilarious to us.  We’re easily amused.” 

Now, you’re probably asking yourself why they didn’t just call it Gap Knob?  Sorry, haven’t a clue.

G-in-K is in the north central part of the state, not too far from Louisville.  Couldn’t find much on it, but it is the home of the Mullets in History Museum.  Hey, wait a minute.  Is that for real?


2. Falls of Rough

Now, that makes no sense. 

But when you realize that it’s just some falls along the Rough River, well then, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?   So, here’s my question .. .  Why not just plain ol’ Rough Falls?  I mean, we do put the adjectives in front of the noun in English, don’t we?

There’s not a whole lot there, but the place does seem very pretty and historic.  In fact, I found a number of links, including a YouTube video:

Right purdy, ain’t it?

1. Head of Grassy

Now, that not good grammar. 

Well, you’ve probably guessed already that this is at the head of the Grassy River.  Well, you’d be right – except for one little thing …  H-of-G just so happens to be five miles downstream from that.  Go figure.

Also, this is not French we’re dealing with here, okay?  So, put that adjective first.  You know, like Grassy Head.  Sheesh!

Not a lot to ol’ Head of Grass, or Gassy Head, or Gimme Head, or whatever it’s called.  It’s basically the intersection of two mountain roads, with a couple of houses in the general vicinity.  I’m assuming it must have seen better days.  It’s in the northeast part of the state. 

This must be the place!

Honorable Mention:

  • B-o-r-i-n-g – Headquarters, Junction City, Centertown, Central City, Center, Farmers, Island
  • Short & sweet – Clay, Field, Bush (named after a George Bush), Bath, Bee, Bug, Drift, Dwarf, Dykes, Dice, Ice, Kite, Hare, Herd, Huff, Chance, Awe, Joy, Job, Jock
  • Just a little out of place – Boston, Anchorage, California, Cuba, Holland, Bagdad, Egypt, Korea, Asia
  • Numerically oriented – Halfway, Four Mile, Nineteen, Eighty Eight
  • Orthographically challenged – Baskett, Guage, Dizney
  • Atypical adjectives – Happy, Flat, Baptist, Confederate, Co Operative, Cerulean, Busy, Barefoot, Fisty
  • Unconventional verbs – Combs, Cranks, Ages, Charters, Access
  • Abnormal nouns – Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, Asphalt, Furnace, Firebrick, Kettle, Cracker, Grannie, Beauty, Dimple, Dukedom, Eminence, Cubage, Cyclone, Acorn, Dewdrop, Decoy, Index, Habit, Halo, Hazard, Jamboree, Bonanza, Battle, Beagle, Barrier, Bandana, Belfry, Butterfly, Goldbug, Honeybee, Hippo, Typo
  • Fun to say – Colo, Altro, Exie, Gratz, Duckers, Dongola, Awawam
  • Just plain weird – Lickskillet, Crowtown, Hardshell, Hot Spot, Gunlock, Goforth, Brightshade, Barnrock, Boardtree,  Ashcamp, Fishtrap, Fancy Farm, Fairplay, Fairdealing, Freewill, Flippin, Gravel Switch, Gum Sulphur, Coalgood, Closplint, Cutshin, Coat Run Village, Blue Moon, Blue Level, Berry Store, Burning Spring, Batchelors Rest, Big Bone, Big Clifty, Bell Parm, Beaver Bottom, Bear Wallow, Bugtussle, Kingbee, Apeyard, Diablock, Oddville, Jetson, Girdler, Gasper, Cropper (as in come a?), Crummies
  • I’d like to introduce you to – Jeff, Judy, Gabe, Gus, Clark Hill, Betsy Lane, Henry Clay, Daniel Boone
  • Hey, are these somebody’s initials? – Arjay, Kayjay

* - author has visited

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