Indiana is full of towns of all sizes. There are big cities like Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and South Bend; medium-sized cities like Evansville, Terre Haute, and Bloomington; and hundreds of small towns dotting the landscape of the state. Most of the latter have names that are pronounced like they're spelled. However, there are a few that require taking a minute to look over before you try to say it, and even then there's a good chance someone who lives there will tell you you're pronouncing it wrong. One of those is considered to be one of the most mispronounced in the entire country.

What's in a Name?

Many of the towns with difficult-to-pronounce names come from our state's history of Native American tribes and German immigrants. The latter of which would often come in waves over the course of 150 to 200 years. Some came to escape religious persecution. Others came for the farmland. Some were skilled craftsmen and woodworkers who were being pushed west as the Industrial Revolution began to take hold on the East Coast where many originally settled after landing on American soil.

Get our free mobile app

That German heritage runs deep in Evansville, where I live. While the town name isn't rooted in German, many of the street and road names around town are. We have Boehne Camp Road (pronounced: Bay-nee Camp), Heidelbach and Weinbach Avenues (Hi-dul-bok and Wine-bok, respectively), and Boeke Road (Bay-kee) among many others.

(Google Maps)
(Google Maps)
loading...

With that said the town 24/7 Wall St. says most Americans will struggle to pronounce has its roots in the state's aforementioned Native American history.

Welcome to Cayuga, Indiana

According to 24/7 Wall St., the honor goes to the small town of Cayuga in Vermillion County. The town of just over 1,200 residents sits on the western edge of the state, roughly three miles from the Illinois border.

Google Maps
Google Maps
loading...

I'm guessing that when you look at the name, "Cayuga," your brain instantly thinks, Kay-you-guh. Obviously, that's wrong and why the town found itself on the list.

The correct pronunciation is Kye-oo-guh.

24/7 Wall St. says the name comes from the Native American tribe that lived in New York State and was forced to migrate westward and northwest, which seems to be partly true. Here's what Wikipedia says, citing the 1975 book, Indiana Place Names by Ronald L. Baker and Marvin Carmony:

When the town was laid out on September 20, 1827, it was called Eugene Station, though it was also called Osonimon after an Indian chief of that name. It was later renamed after the village of Cayuga and Cayuga Lake in the state of New York; an early settler named John Groenendyke had originally come from Cayuga County, New York, and moved to Vigo County in 1818, then in 1819 moved to the area that later became Vermillion County. The name is based on the Iroquois term Gwa-u-geh, meaning "the place of taking out."

16 Indiana Towns with Dirty-Sounding Names

A majority of these towns were given their names in the mid-to-late 1800s as settlers making their way across the country found unclaimed plots of land and decided to make them their own. While I imagine they thought the names they came up with were innocent, and perhaps a tribute to something in their lives, pop culture has warped our minds to the point since then that we can't help but think of something about the town that was never intended by its founders. Take a look at this list. I guarantee there's at least one name that will make you chuckle.

Gallery Credit: Ryan O'Bryan

Fun Fact About Cayuga

The town was once home to the Colonial Brick Corporation which first started making bricks in 1904. It shut down 112 years later in 2016 and held the distinction of being home to the last coal-fired brick kilns in the entire country.

Today, those former kilns look like they came from some sort of steampunk version of The Lord of the Rings.

Kenny Lewis via Facebook
Kenny Lewis via Facebook
loading...

READ MORE: They Aren't Hobbit Houses, But These Abandoned Brick Buildings Are a Significant Part of Indiana's History

[Sources: 24/7 Wall St. / Wikipedia]

KEEP READING: 40 Real Indiana Towns with Quirky, Weird, and Funny Names

Outside the major cities, the Hoosier state is full of tiny little towns you've probably passed through on your way to one of those cities. Most of them are likely 100 to 150 years old, or older, and have been around far longer than the large metropolitan areas such as Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Evansville. Typically, they were started by early settlers who found their way to the state and decided to make it home. Eventually, others would join them, and a community was formed. Over time, as the surrounding areas grew, most of them were folded into those areas and governed by the nearest city or county's governing body officially making them "unincorporated," meaning they did not have their own formally organized municipal government.

A scroll through Wikipedia's long list of unincorporated communities in Indiana shows several of them have names that by today's standards would be considered weird, quirky, or just downright right funny. These are my 40 favorities.

Gallery Credit: Ryan O'Bryan

33 Indiana Towns with International Names

From Holland to China, Cuba to Switzerland, and everywhere in between, several towns across the Hoosier State borrow their names from countries and cities around the globe.

Gallery Credit: Ryan O'Bryan

More From WBKR-FM