Saturday, August 24, 2013

Oklahoma, A-K

Oklahoma is OK, huh?  Well, were you aware that Arkansas is the Land of Opportunity, and New Mexico the Land of Enchantment?  You’ve also got your Gem State (Idaho) and Golden State (California) and Empire State (New York) as well.  So, what do you think, Oklahoma?  Do you think you could you raise your game just a little bit here?

Well, at least they’ve got their fair share of crazily named towns.  I had to break this post in two.  This week, A to K.  Next week, L to Z.
10. Gene Autry

This town of 100 in the south central part of the state was named for famous singer and Western movie star Tom Mix. 

Tom bought a ranch nearby in 1939.  The locals changed the name of their town, Berwyn, to honor him a couple of years later.  Interestingly, the town had previously been called Lou and also Dresden.  Here's hoping these folks have finally settled down.
And, yes, there is a museum!

Tom, wife Dale, and horse Silver
(not necessarily in that order)
9. Chilocco

I think I just like saying this one (though chances are pretty good I’m pronouncing it incorrectly).

It’s from the Muskogee (Creek) and means “big deer.”  And that’s – interestingly – the phrase they used for “horse.”
Chilocco the town is north of Oklahoma City, right on the border with Kansas.  It’s the site of a famous Indian boarding school, which closed in 1980.  Today, we have the Seven Clans Travel Plaza and Lil' Bit of Paradise Casino instead – and not much else, to tell you the truth.

Chilocco Agricultural Indian School basketball team, 1909
(and, yes, those are swastikas)

8. Bluejacket

Personally, I would much prefer Blueblazer … But, hey, who asked me?

The name comes from one Charles Bluejacket, Shawnee chief and first postmaster.
The town is in the far northeast of the state, and has 340 people.  Owen Cash, founder of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA for short) is a native son.

Hustler Bible Class?!?! Am I missing something?

7. Broken Bow / Broken Arrow

Would you kids stop touching everything!  Put that down!  Right now!

Broken Bow is named after Broken Bow, KS, where the town’s founders were from.  The OK version is in the far southeast corner of its state, and has 4,100 people.  It’s the nearest town to the wonderfully named Beaver Bend State Park.  The local high school team goes by the extremely politically incorrect nickname of the Savages.
Broken Arrow is named after a Creek community in Alabama.  BA is big time.  With about 100,000 people, it’s the fourth largest city in OK and the 27th largest city in the US.  It’s still basically a suburb of Tulsa though.  It dates back only to 1902, and had a mere 11,000 just back in 1970.  Kristen Chenoweth was born here.

Someone carved that
6. Cement

Cement factory?  Nearby clay mines?  We may never know.

I do know, though, that it’s a lot better than what the Comanche called it, Toyanarimii.  In case your Comanche’s a little rusty, that means "rock town."
This diminutive burg of 530 is in the southwest part of Oklahoma, in the wonderfully named Keechi Hills.  In Wild West days, it was known as an outlaw hangout. 

Google results include some wonderful combinations, such as the Cement Bulldogs (the local high school team), Cement News, Cement Weather, Cement Car Insurance, Cement Counselors, Cement Jobs, Cement Municipal Court, and Cement Houses for Sale.
Good name for a band

5. Corn

So, you think they grow corn around here?

Actually, this place was originally called Korn.  So I’m guessing it was really named after the band. 
Seriously, Korn is a German surname, literally means “grain,” and was typically given to someone who worked as a grain merchant.  So, this oddly named place may actually really have been named after some guy.  Alternatively, maybe some Germans just grew grain around here.

Corn and Cement are actually rather alike.  The towns, I mean.  They’re both in the same part of OK, and Corn’s got about 500 people to Cement’s 530.  There are also plenty of odd Google links for “Corn OK” as well – though my favorite is probably the “related search,” “Is corn OK for dogs?” 
There’s actually a fair amount of history in Corn.  It was settled by German Mennonites who brought over the wheat variety called Turkey Red (the primary winter wheat strain in the US).  It was also the site of the first tornado recorded on film.
Not every city can fit their educational and
government districts in the same building, you know

4. Frogville

So, you think they got a lotta frogs around here?

As a matter of fact, they do!  Wikiepedia says that the place “was named for the abundance of frogs in the area said to be so large they ate young ducks.” 
It’s in the southeast part of the state.  I spot a crossroads, some farms, and a cemetery – all a little north of the Red River.

I wasn’t able to find much on the town, though I did find a review for a play called So My Son Married His Boyfriend in Frogville Oklahoma. 
Scarily, this is the town’s main attraction
3. Battiest

adj. bat·ti·er, bat·ti·est. Slang. Crazy; insane. [From “bats in the belfry”].

It’s actually from the honorable Byington Battiest, a Choctaw judge.  Further, my guess is it’s pronounced with just two syllables – like “ba-teest.”
That’s actually too bad, because pronouncing it like the adjective gives us such beauties as Battiest Rd., Battiest High School (home of the Battiest Panthers), the Battiest Cemetery, and the Battiest Burger Barn.

However it may be pronounced, it’s got 250 people and is in the southeast part of the state (not that far from Beaver Bend State Park, by the way). 
It’s the battiest!
2. Bowlegs

No, this town’s name is not a celebration of the medical condition known as genu varum.  It’s named after somebody with the last name of Bowlegs.  There’s a little controversy about who that might actually be:
  • Billy Bowlegs, a famous Seminole chief
  • Lulu Bowlegs, his descendent, on whose land oil was discovered here
  • David Bowlegs, who got murdered here

Bowlegs the town has about 370 people.  Wikipedia says it’s a bedroom community, but it appears to be in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest city (Oklahoma City) more than an hour away.
Must make it hard to kick the ball

1. Gay / Straight

Take your pick. 

Well, it looks like I could definitely find some Straight Oklahomans.  I’m not so sure about the Gay ones though. Here, let me explain ...
A search on “Straight OK” does point to a place on Mapquest.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing there other than some big crop circles.  It is just to the west of the equally iffy town of Mouser.  A little further east, though, is the wonderfully named – and very alive and well – Hooker.

As for “Gay OK” …  Well, I did get plenty of hits.  They just weren’t what I was expecting.
Miss Gay Oklahoma,
Claire Voyance

Honorable Mention:

  • B-o-r-i-n-g – Green Pasture, Grove (world’s largest fishing pole), Countyline, Centralia, Center
  • Short and sweet – Dow, Fay, Jay, Joy, Ada, Eva, Eucha, Enid, Eram, Gans, Foss, Babbs, Box, Bee, Kaw
  • Just a little out of place – Kansas, Camp Houston, Fargo, Canton, Cleveland, Albany, Dover, Chattanooga, Helena, Cheyenne, Billings, Boise City, El Reno, Burbank, Berlin, Kremlin, Cairo, Delhi, Bengal
  • Just a little off-color – Hooker, Beaver (Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World), Cox City
  • Numerically oriented – Four Corners, Carter Nine
  • Orthographically challenged – Cogar, Chewey, Grainola, Bacone, Brooken
  • Atypical adjectives – Hardy, Blue, Brown, Golden, Gray, Cloudy, Canadian, Jumbo, Hollow, Greasy, Kenefic
  • Abnormal nouns – Friendship, Fame, Enterprise, Colony, Cache, Driftwood, Daisy, Apple, Antlers, Buffalo, Bison, Elk City (National Route 66 Museum), Gray Horse, Herd, Kingfisher, Carrier, Blocker, Bunch, Bromide, Bushyhead, Hominy, Hydro, Happyland, Jet, Jester
  • Unconventional verbs – Felt, Bond, Bray
  • Fun to say – Harjo, Depew, Felker, Krebs, Eakly, Andarko, Eufaula, Inola, Binger, Belzoni
  • Homa, homa, homa – Indiahoma, Centrahoma
  • Just plain weird – Ft. Supply, Empire City, Dill City, Big Cabin, Burns Flat, Cloud Chief, Jollyville, Hockerville, Cookietown, Hicks Addition
  • I’d like to introduce you to – Katie, Gerty, Bessie, Bernice (formerly Needmore), Idabell, Amber, Krystal, Hugo (Circus Town USA), Homer, Calvin, Canute, Geronimo, Cleo Springs, Devo
  • Ghost towns – Acme, Grand, Gate, Eddy, Bathsheba, Indianapolis, Hext, Hochatown, America, Creek Agency, Cheek, Karma, Beer City

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