How Did Your Town / City Get Its Name?

Discussion in 'Places I Have Lived' started by Lois Winters, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Lois Winters

    Lois Winters Very Well-Known Member
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    A few of us here have spoken of the towns we live in or have resided in at various points in our lives. But, have we really thought much about how the name was arrived at? Rarely did I bother to think much regarding this as some places are obviously named for famous people. However, let us take Ken's hometown of Millinocket; yes a mill was built there, but where did the rest of that name derive from? My hometown was called Riverdale. Not too original I might add. It was a part of a township of a different name, but separated and became an incorporated municipality 122 yrs. ago. So named due to it being a dale with a river running through it. Prior to that, I lived in Manhattan which originally was New Amsterdam, but later derived its name from Manna-Hata, a dialect of the Lenape Indians. Burbank, California, another home of mine of course was named for a dentist, Dr. David Burbank, who became renowned for many things during his lifetime.

    Well, anyway, you get the idea, I'd love to read the various origins of the places many on here came from.
     
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  2. Peter Renfro

    Peter Renfro Very Well-Known Member
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    I live in central NY. The state was mapped by George Dewitt. He was a great fan of ancient Greece as was the fashion of the time. So we ended up with names like Ithaca,Lodi,Ovid,Elmira,Syracuse, Romulus, etc.
     
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  3. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Veteran Member
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    During my high school years, I grew up about 10 miles outside of Churubusco, Indiana. Back then, and I guess still is, known as "Busco" to locals. Never checked into the history of this small city, but all of our banking, haircuts, grocery shopping was done there.
     
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  4. Von Jones

    Von Jones Veteran Member
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    I like this thread @Lois Winters.

    After reading another post about cities being flooded I really took an interest in our city's history. I often wondered as I look at the street signs who they were named after.

    Dayton was named after Jonathan Dayton a native of New Jersey and was a lawyer, politican and served in the Revolutionary War in 1775. He was the youngest politican to sign the United States Constitution. He never lived in Dayton but owned land in the state of Ohio, 250,000 acres between the Big (now the Great) and Little Miami Rivers.

    The first settlers called 'The Thomspon Party' who travelled up the Great Miami River from Cincinnati, Ohio name the city after him in 1796 .
     
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  5. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    When I was born, my folks lived on the outskirts of a small town in northern Idaho, named “Bonner’s Ferry”. The town sits along the edge of the Kootenai River, and the ferry across the river was established by a man named Edwin Bonner, who was a trader/merchant from Washington State.
    Eventually, they built a regular bridge across the river, and didn’t need the ferry anymore. Until the Libby Dam was built in the 1960’s, the Kootenai River would flood each spring, and most of downtown Bonners would be flooded.

    I can remember seeing the river at flood stage, and they would have the National Guard troops there, as well as most of the local people, filling sandbags, and stacking them along the riverbank near the town, to try and keep Bonners Ferry itself from flooding. All of the farmland surrounding the river would always get flooded, along with any houses built in those areas.

    Here is a picture of Bonners in about 1947, when it had flooded really bad that year.
    That was about the same time as my folks moved further south, to Sandpoint , Idaho, where I grew up. This picture is of the Main Street of town, looking towards the river.
    You can see that the bridge was built high enough that it stayed above the water, even during the floods.

    8EB8A4AC-46FF-40BF-8902-BF7E55BAE26A.jpeg
     
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  6. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Actually, it wasn't named for the mill. The area was known as Millinocket before a town was here. It is an anglicization of an Abenaki word that meant "land of many islands."

    In searching for the town I live in, you don't even have to specify the state because there are no other towns in the world called Millinocket.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  7. Lois Winters

    Lois Winters Very Well-Known Member
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    This is the center of the town I now live in, Madison, NJ. Named for our 4th President, the Father of the Constitution and co-author of The Federalist Papers. Side note, James Madison was a shrimp at only 5'4", but a real thinker.
    13895528_10202073349591523_2795516215921730230_n.jpg
     
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  8. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Very Well-Known Member
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    In typical fashion, the town in which I reside was named after a man who bought over 12,000 acres and laid out a town, planning on making a major river port out of it. It served as one for a long stretch of time, until the railroads proved a major competitor.
     
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  9. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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    Named after the city that was home to the Platonic Academy of Plato and Aristotle in Greece (the world's first university). Along with 10 other towns by the same name in the US.

    "In Plato's time, the school did not have any particular doctrine to teach; rather, Plato posed problems to be studied and solved by the others." ..I

    How lucky for him. :rolleyes: I didn't know the details until now. :):cool::p:D
     
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  10. Lon Tanner

    Lon Tanner Veteran Member
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    Fresno, California where I live was named after the Ash tree of which there are many along the river. The name is Spanish.
     
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  11. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I used to live in Los Fresnos, Texas, also named for the ash tree.
     
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  12. Kate Ellery

    Kate Ellery Veteran Member
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    Kadina , South Australia ......(/kəˈdiːnə/ kə-DEE-nə) is a town on the Yorke Peninsula of the Australian state of South Aust approximately 144 kilometres north-northwest of the state capital of Adelaide The largest town of the Peninsula, Kadina
    is one of the three copper triangle towns famous for their shared mining history. The three towns are known as "Little Cornwall" for the significant number of immigrants from Cornwall.

    Population 5.000 approx

    How it got the name ...
    The Narungga are the group of Indigenous Australians whose traditional lands include what is now termed Yorke Peninsula
    in S A The name "Kadina" is thought to be derived from Kadiyinya, a Narungga word meaning 'Lizard Plain'.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  13. Ed Wilson

    Ed Wilson Very Well-Known Member
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    I was originally from Duryea and the sign erected by the highway department said the town was named after Hiram Duryea, starch king and land owner. That info lands with a thud. Who? The town was originally called Marcy after the earliest resident.

    I now live in Exeter. There are more than one named Exeter and I believe they are named after a place in the UK.

    Many towns in this part of PA are taken from Indian names like Mauch Chunk or Shickshinny.
     
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  14. Steve North

    Steve North Veteran Member
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    I used to live in Elliot Lake, Ontario before moving to Massey...……... We originally came from Montreal..
    Elliot lake got its name from someone in the late 1940's who was working as a prospector looking for uranium.. They found it and started an outpost up there..
    Now, there was a man named Elliot that went down to the lake to fetch water and accidently fell in the lake and drowned.. They never found the body.. In respect to poor Elliot they named the lake Elliot's lake.. The outpost started to grow as uranium was needed and the place soon became a mining town named Elliot Lake and today there isn't any more uranium mining up there but the town is now a Senior's town.. An organization called "Retirement Living" came in and took over all the abandoned buildings that were left after the mines closed and the miners left.. They renovated them all to accommodate the needs of seniors and rented them to seniors.. They paid next to nothing for the properties as they were abandoned anyway.. As their cost was almost nothing except renovations, they rented their properties very cheap in order to attract seniors to come up there to retire.. I mean cheap.. A 1500 sq. ft. 4 level split level house was renting for $350.00 a month.. Some 2 bedroom apartments that were walk-ups were renting for $100.00 a month.. This was in the years of 1990's..Today it isn't that cheap but still way under market value..

    The mining companies built a complete town which then had about 35,000 people because of the many mines.. They built in the early 70's some high rise apartment buildings, townhouses, and single dwellings, which are still occupied today by seniors.. The town was booming and had everything a town needs.. I mean EVERYTHING ...
    We lived up there (after leaving Montreal upon retirement) and we lived there for 8 years before buying a home in Massey.. In Elliot Lake we rented an apartment on the 5th floor of a high-rise building..
    After 8 years, we decided to buy something, and we found this A-Frame house in Massey that was rather new (built in 1989) with lots of land.. Massey is about an hours drive east from Elliot Lake.. Massey area is relatively flat while Elliot Lake is extremely mountainous making the streets all steep hills..
     
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  15. Al Amoling

    Al Amoling Veteran Member
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    I live in Kennebunk...This rest of this is from Wikipedia. "Kennebunk, the only village in the world so named," was featured on a large locally famous sign attached to the Kesslen Shoe Mill on Route One. To the AbenakiIndians, Kennebunk meant "the long cut bank," presumably the long bank behind Kennebunk Beach.
     
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