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Today’s Amazing Fact: Washington’s Name Game

August 25, 2012

Believe it or not, 32 Washington communities were named by a railroad company vice president who not only never visited the state, but who also came up with ideas by walking around his house and basing the names on whatever objects caught his fancy.

Whittier was named after a poet whose book he had on the shelf, Othello a play he had on the shelf, and Ralston and Purina after common household foods.

It could be worse. Here’s a list of other odd town names mentioned in Bill Bryson’s Made in America:
Chicken Thief Flat, CA
Puke, CA
Shitbritches Creek, CA
Who’d A Thought it, Alabama
Eek, Alaska
Greasy Corner, Arkansas
Zook Spur, Iowa
Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
Lick Skillet, Bug Tussle, Ding Dong and Cut and Shoot, Texas
Knockemstiff, Ohio
Bowlegs, Oklahoma
Tightwad, Jerktail, Missouri
Cheesequake, New Jersey
East Due West, South Carolina
Bugscuffle, Gizzards Cove, Tennessee
Superior Bottom, West Virginia
Embarrass, Wisconsin

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