Unusually descriptive place names
Inaccessible Island, a remotely located extinct volcanic island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, is so named for the difficulty in landing on the island and penetrating its interior because of the rough terrain.
Death Valley, California, one of the hottest locations on Earth, got its English name after 13 pioneers died trying to cross the harsh desert valley during the California Gold Rush of 1849. The highest recorded land temperature, 134 °F (56.7 °C), was recorded inside Death Valley at Furnace Creek, California in 1913.
Fiddletown, California was a Chinese gold mining settlement and was home to about 235 people according to 2010 census. When the creek went dry the miners were said to be “fiddling around” thus giving the name. One local civilian successfully lobbied to change the name to Oleta, given after his daughter in 1878 because he was embarrassed to be known as the “Man from Fiddletown”. After his death in 1932, the name was restored. Similarly, Gardendale, Alabama was originally named “Jugtown” due to the jug and churn factory around which the town originally grew. Hettie Thomason Cargo, a local school teacher, proposed the name change in 1906 after being embarrassed to admit she was from “Jugtown” at a regional teachers meeting. The town voted to rename itself Gardendale; unlike Oleta, the name stuck.
Quibbletown, New Jersey, also known as New Market, is an unincorporated settlement within the township of Piscataway. The name of the settlement originated with a dispute as to whether the Sabbath was on Saturday or Sunday.
Rough and Ready, California is on the National List of Historic Places. It gets its name from the founder of the town, A. A. Townsend, who served under General Zachary Taylor in the Blackhawk War. Taylor was nicknamed “Rough and Ready” and was later elected president of the United States.
Bell End, Worcestershire, is situated approximately 3 kilometres south-east of Hagley on the A491, north of Bromsgrove and close to Kidderminster, Stourbridge and Halesowen. It lies in the local government district of Bromsgrove.
Roanoke, Virginia was first established as the town of Big Lick in 1852 and was named for a large outcropping of salt that drew wildlife to the site near the Roanoke River. (The deer used to lick up the salt, hence the name Big Lick).
Place names that are homonyms for other words in the same language
Boring, Oregon is named after William H. Boring, who settled in the area in the 1870s. The town name is a homonym for the word boring, and the town often makes puns based on its name. Boring’s town motto is “The most exciting place to live” and it has taken on the similarly named Dull, Scotland as its sister city. Bland Shire, New South Wales, Australia, named for founder William Bland, is also similarly named. Also in New South Wales, there lies a town named Orange, which was founded in 1880. Orange, New South Wales is a sister city to its homonym Orange, California, itself in the County of Orange. Orange, California, in turn, is also a sister city with Orange in Vaucluse, France. Franklin County, Massachusetts, includes a town called Orange. There exists another city called Orange in New Jersey, as well as a West Orange, a South Orange, and an East Orange. The county of Essex in southeastern England is home to the village of Ugley, and in the county of Hertfordshire, the hamlet of Nasty, which are only a few miles apart. The former commune of Montcuq, in France, had its name pronounced [mɔ̃kyk] or [mɔ̃ky], which means “my ass” in French, and for that reason was the subject of a famous humorous sketch on French television in 1976.