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There is almost nothing, author Bill Bryson notes, that hasn't inspired an American place name at one time or another. Here are just a few:

Azusa, CA - One tradition says the name derives from an Indian term for "hill to the east," while another has it that a local store sold everything "from A to Z in the USA"

Bat Cave, NC - Named, as you might suspect, for a nearby cave inhabited by bats and other mammals

Bugtussle, OK - Name connotes a backwoods community, much like "podunk"

Bumble Bee, AZ - Named for a swarm of bees that stung early settlers

Cando, ND - When legal authority for this settlement was questioned, a local resident replied, "Just to show what we can do, we'll name this county seat Can-do"

Chilly, ID - A name coined before the rise of tourist and convention bureaus

Climax, NY - Name drawn from nearby hamlets called Result and Surprise

Crummies, KY - A crummie is a cow with crooked horns; the community was named for Crummies Creek, which was named for a herd of animals with irregular horns

Due West, SC - Named for an old trading post on the Cherokee Path, six miles west of the current town

Eclectic, AL - Named by a local resident who had taken an "eclectic" course of study at school

Frankenstein, MO - Believed named not for the monster, but for Gottfried Franken, who donated land to build a church here in 1890

Frying Pan, NC - Named for the unusually shaped bay off the Alligator River

Hell, MI - A popular postmark for people paying taxes and alimony

Kill Devil Hills, NC - According to legend, named for rum so powerful it would kill the devil

Knockemstiff, OH - Tradition says the community was named for the kick of its moonshine and the fighting ability of its young men

Ladora, IA - Named after the notes of the scale -- la, do and re

Lightsville, OH - Named not for its contrast to the county name (Darke), but for William B. Light, who laid out the town

Noodle, TX - Named after Noodle Creek, a dry stream bed. At the time, the word "noodle" meant "nothing"

Notus, ID - One of the many stories about the origin of the community name involves a group of travelers who decided to homestead here. When asked if they were ready to continue on to Oregon, they responded, "Not us"

Podunk - Wrongly defined as an "unimportant place"

Rabbit Hash, KY - Tradition says the community was named for a dish served here frequently (perhaps too often) after the river flooded, driving rabbits to the hillsides, where they were killed for food

Tick Bite, NC - The origin seems self-evident, but we've yet to find a definitive account

Truth or Consequences, NM - Formerly called Hot Springs; residents renamed the city after the radio and TV game show moderated by Ralph Edwards

Two Egg, FL - Named for local children who traded eggs for candy

Why, AZ - Named for a Y-shaped intersection of state Highways 85 and 86

Whynot, NC - Named as a result of residents' back-and-forth discussion of what to call the place: "Why not this?" and "Why not that?"


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