Why Do These KY Towns Have Such Weird Names?
Have you ever played car bingo? If they still make the cards, you can usually pick them up at roadside convenience stores or travel centers. Instead of numbers, you mark off things like barns, churches, railroad crossings, and such.
We always played, and it was a blast. But I submit you could drive across Kentucky and play another version, albeit one you'd have to create yourself. You could make multiple cards that feature the weird names you find in abundance on lists of towns in the Commonwealth. Names like Rabbit Hash, Monkey's Eyebrow, and Quicksand come to mind, but there are so many more.
But why do those towns have those names in the first place?
The tiny community known for its general store and its canine mayors is a river community. Consequently, it has dealt with its fair share of flooding issues over the decades. And THAT'S where its name comes from, just in case you were thinking it had something to do with a bizarre alternative to CORNED BEEF hash. The Rabbit Hash website will enlighten you:
The town's name, "Rabbit Hash" is said to have originated during the flood of 1847 when the abundant local rabbit population was driven to higher ground and became a food staple in a special stew called "hash." Little documented history of Rabbit Hash actually survives, primarily because devastating Ohio River floods in 1884, 1913 and 1937 deluged the little town and ruined many records.
(Sounds like like a plot thread from Watership Down.)
This is my favorite of all the bizarre Kentucky town names. As for the origin of the name of this far-western Kentucky community, well you might just have to take your pick, as there are multiple theories. One theory involves the shape of the town on a map; it looks like a monkey's head. The other stems from an insult leveled at a late 19th-century supply store.
As you can see, there's just not much there:
But hey, at least there's a song about it:
That name might already ring a bell if you're a fan of the classic TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. Bug Tussle TN was the fictional hometown of lead character Jed Clampett. However, Bugtussle (one word) is a REAL Kentucky community that got its name from doodlebugs, according to gardenstogables.com:
According to Robert Rennick’s Kentucky Place Names, the name sprang from the practice of traveling wheat thrashers journeying from farm to farm to thresh wheat. The workers slept in haylofts in barns during their rotations in the community, and “the thrashers …stayed so long that it was said the bugs got so large that they would tussle in the hay.”
In case you were wondering, here are doodlebugs in action:
I guess both components of this Kentucky town's name would each be a headscratcher at face value. But it's the prevalence of a certain bird that gives it its FIRST name, says the Louisville Courier-Journal:
The town, located near the border with Jefferson County east of Anchorage, takes its name from the Eastern Wood-Pewee bird. One legend says the bird's call sounds like "Pe-wee, peace and good will." Today, the monthly city newsletter is called "The Call of the Pewee."
As for the second part of the name, no one is quite sure. You see, Pewee Valley sits on a RIDGE, hence the conundrum.
Kentucky is not alone. Weird names abound across the United States, but which one is the weirdest? I guess that's a matter of opinion. But if you do want to take a gander at some of the best ones, the online magazine Babbel has you covered. But, I'll be honest. None of THEM are as odd as the gems we have here.
The 25 Most Common Last Names in Kentucky RANKED
Baby Names Inspired by Kentucky Towns
Gallery Credit: MKat