10 slightly saucy place names in the US
It started innocently enough. A simple online browse, a read of a blog article and then when I clicked on the author to find out more about her, boom – there it was. She was from Climax, Minnesota. A fact I found hilarious. A little research reveals there are actually quite a few multiple, ahem, Climaxes in the States – in Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and New York State too.
It reminded me of a map of the US with unusually place names that I had in primary school. Towns with pioneer, gold rush-era and Wild West monikers like Truth or Consequences, Last Chance, Hell, Rough and Ready, and Coward. So, in honour of the month of lurve, we decided to delve a little deeper into Small Town America to unearth some suggestive place names. Sure, it’s a little childish humour-wise, but still amusing to our inner 8-year-old selves. Here’s our top 10.
1. Intercourse, Pennsylvania
Seriously? Try saying, “I’m from Intercourse” – I mean, aren’t we all? The origins of this nudge-nudge, wink-wink name are actually quite chaste, like most of these monikers. Located in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Intercourse is said to have got its name from a corruption of 'Enter-Course' when the area was once the entrance to a racecourse. A popular Amish tourist attraction, the traditional village also formed the backdrop for Harrison Ford’s 1985 film Witness.
2. Sweet Lips, Tennessee
Just made for saying with one hand on your hip and a side of sass, Sweet Lips is one honey-pie of a town. Located in Chester County in Tennessee, the tight-knit community of Sweet Lips (there’s less than 100 residents) has a small general store called the Sweetlips Store, which hosts knitting and crochet classes, game-shooting comps and serves up chocolate and cream cheese-dipped strawberries, lemon icebox pie and mac ‘n’ cheese. They’re even on Facebook!
3. French Lick, Indiana
Hmm. Turns out this Indiana town with a population of under 2,000 is not just famous for its funny name, it’s also the hometown of NBA legend Larry Bird. Anyway, the town was originally a French trading post near a salt lick, which is just another name for a natural mineral deposit where animals can get their daily essential multivitamins. There’s a couple of other ‘Licks’ to be found, namely Beaver Lick in Kentucky and Lizard Lick in North Carolina, which gave rise to the reality show, Lizard Lick Towing, about repo agents.
4. Blue Ball, Pennsylvania
Another entry for the Keystone State, this community of around 1,000 is at pains (boom tish) to point out on its town sign that its namesake is The Blue Ball Hotel and not about the suggestive slang term. At all. One John Wallace hung a blue ball outside a building he built in the early 18th century and locals came to call the town ‘Blue Ball’ after the establishment. While the hotel no longer exists (it was razed in 1997), the name stuck.
5. Conception, Missouri
Less about THE act and more about religious acts, Conception is home to Conception Abbey, which was founded by Swiss Benedictine monks in 1873. There’s also a seminary college – a liberal arts college with a pre-theology curriculum – onsite. Also in the state of Missouri there’s the town of Fidelity, not far from the town of Diamond, marking Missourians as a rather marriage-centred lot. Of course, there’s always Romance in Arkansas and Fertile in Minnesota for that lovin’ feeling.
6. Erect, North Carolina
Part of an area settled by German and English settlers known for their pottery prowess in the 18th century with nearby small communities including Whynot, Hemp and Lonely, Erect is in the middle of the North Carolina Pottery Highway. With such emphasis on ceramics, we’re guessing the town’s namesake refers to clay making rather than lovemaking. Nevertheless, there are plenty of humorous tees available online that poke fun at this small town’s name (see what we did there?).
7. Horneytown, North Carolina
Another North Carolina fave, the locale of Horneytown is just 8 kilometres up the road from High Point and Climax – yes, really. Horneytown also lent its moniker to a TV show about regular places with slightly risqué names, and a book titled Welcome to Horneytown, North Carolina, Population: 15 : An A to Z tour through 201 of the world’s weirdest and wildest places. Signs are constantly stolen from Horneytown Road so they’ve stopped putting them up, but you can see the Horneytown Fire Department sign.
8. Loveladies, New Jersey
While this place sounds like it should be advertised in neon, the neighbourhood of Loveladies in the Long Beach Township of New Jersey shore takes its name from an island in the bay that was owned by a local hunter and sportsman named Thomas Lovelady in the 1870s. While its title did change from Lovelady’s to Long Beach Park around World War II, it reverted back to Loveladies in 1952.
9. Sugar Tit, South Carolina
While the signs have gone, the South Carolina town of Sugar Tit is still there, located just outside of Greer. There’s one stoplight and only one restaurant that goes by the unremarkable moniker of Joe’s Fishing Lake and Restaurant. Plus there's the local go-kart Sugar-Tit Speedway known locally as ‘the Tit’. While no one really knows where the name came from, it’s not a sweetheart nickname but rather the practice of using material soaked in sugar to pacify screaming bubs.
10. Hooker, Oklahoma
The temptation was there to award the final funny US place name to Disappointment, Kentucky or Accident, Maryland after all those double entendre towns, but in the end we couldn’t go past Hooker in Oklahoma. While Hooker is a common surname, and probably some esteemed founder is the reason for this town’s moniker, we love a place that embraces its less salubrious connotations. Case in point? The local baseball team is dubbed the Hooker Horny Toads and you can buy tees proclaiming ‘Once a Hooker, always a Hooker’. Or this heading from the High Plains Daily Reader on January 26, 2011, ‘Hooker overcomes illness, slaps Beaver 64-57’ about a basketball game. Yep, Hooker, you are all class.