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Interesting City Name Origins?

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
The names of so many cities are simply accepted without much thought, but quite often cities arrive at their names in odd ways. Does anyone have any interesting city name origins? I'll list a few to get started (and please correct me if I'm wrong):

Detroit - French, was de troit: "on the straits."

Buffalo - Also French, I believe. Not called Buffalo because of local bison, but because the French said the Niagara River had a "beau fleauve".

Novi, MI - This Detroit suburb (I heard) got its name because a farmer there in the 1850s made his home the number 6 stop in Michigan on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves; Novi means Roman numeral 6.

Cairo, IL - Its founders (mistakenly) thought the southernmost point in Illinois was at the same latitude as Cairo, Egypt. To this day, far southern Illinois is still called "Little Egypt."

Any others?
 

El Feo

Cyburbian
Messages
674
Points
19
You left out "Chicago"

I'd always heard that it was derived from an Indian word for "skunk" or "wild onion", but lately I've heard it means "strong." Sounds like Chamber of Commerce propoganda to me. ;) (Just kidding, Chicago is my favorite city in N.A)
 

statler

Cyburbian
Messages
447
Points
14
Boston, MA was name after Boston, England. From what I understand, the name Boston is a bastardazation of Botolph's town. St. Botolph was an Orthodox saint who traveled and settled down in what is now the seaside town of Boston, England. Lore has it that due to his helpfulness with the seafarers of the town he was given the name St. Boat Helper which then evolved to St. Boltolph. To this day there is a St. Boltoph Street in downtown Boston as a reminder to our history.

I can't rember exactly where I read the above info and I'm having a little trouble finding links to back it up, so take it with a grain of salt I suppose.

Here are a few links that support some of what I've written:

St. Boat Helper

St.Boltoph's Town.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
Re: You left out "Chicago"

El Feo said:
I'd always heard that it was derived from an Indian word for "skunk" or "wild onion", but lately I've heard it means "strong."
The Indian word that "Chicago" comes from is most often (I think) associated here with "wild onion", but I've heard some people say it means "strong" as in pungeant odor. And when the stockyards were in full blast 100 years ago, that name certainly applied.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Beloit, WI (Beh-loyt) was originally pronounced (beh-lot). French, it means 'beautiful prairie' or something like it. They changed it in the early 1800'2 to make it sound more like the rising star among western cities, Detroit.

Mazomanie, WI (may-zo-may-nee). This village was platted by the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad in 1854. They chose a Sac Indian name, Mazomanie, that can be translated as "Iron that Walks" or "Walking Iron." Fitting for a ralroad town.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Up here we have these government produced TV "ads" called "Heritage Minutes". One of them explains how Canada got its name. Basically, an early explorer misunderstood the native name for village, and thought they were talking about the whole of the land he was in.

Toronto comes from the native word meaning "Meeting Place".
 

statler

Cyburbian
Messages
447
Points
14
Tranplanner said:
Up here we have these government produced TV "ads" called "Heritage Minutes". One of them explains how Canada got its name. Basically, an early explorer misunderstood the native name for village, and thought they were talking about the whole of the land he was in.

I've always liked the McKensie Brothers explaintion better. :D
 
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