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Puttin’ You Some Knowledge November 19, 2016

Posted by Sobek in News.

Like many of you, I’ve often wondered why Westby, a town on the eastern most edge of Montana, has the name Westby, instead of something like, say, Eastby.  The answer, as with so many things in life, is alcohol:

 Danish settlers came up with the name by combining the word west, which noted the town’s location in extreme western North Dakota, with the word by, Danish for town. The town remained in North Dakota until 1914, when it was moved slightly across the border so as to be next to a newly built branch line of the Soo Line Railroad and in a state that permitted the sale of alcohol.

I’m guessing here that one of those two factors was more important than the other.


1. Sobek - November 19, 2016

I have this great mental image of 500 or so Danes saying, “All right, everyone, pick up your stuff and take ten steps that way.”

2. Sobek - November 19, 2016

But my favorite place-name-origin story of all time is about Tres Pinos, California. From Wikipedia:

“The town of Tres Pinos was originally located 5 miles south of the town of Paicines. The opposite is true today.

“The railroad was to build a line to Tres Pinos. By 1873, Southern Pacific Railroad made it to Paicines and it ran two passenger and two freight trains a day. So in 1874 the names of the two towns were switched so the railroad could say they built a line all the way to Tres Pinos.”

3. lauraw - November 20, 2016

It’s fun to imagine the time when America was so young and plastic and creatively minded. Whole towns just relocating. Ridonkumous.

4. Cathy - November 21, 2016

Cute stuff and thanks for posting. I love learning about this stuff.

My favorite location name will always be Peculiar, Missouri.

My dad legally immigrated from the Netherlands and became a U.S. citizen about the time I was born. He enjoyed and liked Americana. I think we Americans were a bit more laid back than his Dutch culture permitted.

He told me this story with his thick Dutch accent almost 60 years ago. The folks forming the little town in Missouri were asked by the state government what they wanted to name their town and their answer was that they didn’t know but they wanted something peculiar. So the State of Missouri suggested Peculiar and they went along with it.

I miss my dad. He would be 100 years old if he were still alive. He would have enjoyed hearing your stories, Sobek. Hugs.

5. digitalbrownshirt - November 21, 2016

This reminds me of the Simpsons episode where the entire town moved 5 miles to deal with the overflow of trash from Homer’s stint as sanitation boss.

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