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Somewhere along life’s journey I came into possession of a 1940 wall map of Kentucky that has provided hours of entertainment.
I get a kick from reading names of some of the communities, many of which probably had schools and post offices at one time, but are now just faded memories.
There were lots of common themes followed when it came to assigning names to places.
For instance, you won’t find many counties that don’t have places named in honor of females.
In Estill county the names include Patsey, Evelyn and Ola.
Over in Lee you’ll find Monica; Letcher has Polly, and Harlan Pansy; Clay is home to Annalee and Dana is over in Floyd.
Way down in far western Kentucky you’ll find Maggie in Trigg; Lola and Violet in Livingston; Edith and Nell in Adair; Rosetta in Breckinridge.
I grew up near the community of Ruth in Pulaski County, but never met Betsy in nearby Wayne.
Locating odd names is also a frequent source of enjoyment, and provides a break from my new bad habit of communicating with friends and family on Facebook.
One day soon I want to travel over into Lee County and check out Whynot, Radical and Wild Dog. There’s got to be a good story behind all three of those names, especially Whynot.
Down in Letcher it just doesn’t seem fair there’s a place called Democrat, but no Republican in sight.
McCreary County has a Fidelity, which makes me wonder if there are any places named Infidelity. If so, wouldn’t that be a great place to build retirement homes for disgraced politicians?
Whoever picked Cuba for a place in Graves County, and Moscow for a Fulton County town probably should have had their names on a list of terrorists.
Wasn’t it the Cuba Cubs that won a state championship in basketball in the 1950s?
One would think Petroleum would be the name of a place in Estill County, but it’s actually way over in Allen, one of those Kentucky counties you rarely hear about.
It seems kinda strange that Chicago would be in Marion County, but probably no stranger than Texas still being a lively little community near the Washington-Boyle line.
Somebody needs to explain to me why West View is on the east side of Breckinridge County, and how on earth a place in Whitley County, far, far from the ocean, gets the name Tidalwave?
And you have to wonder if maybe the original McDonalds might have been located in Hart County, since they have a place called Defries. Can’t you just picture someone at the drive-up window ordering a hamburger and being asked “Do you want de fries with that?
Finally, saving the best for last, I can’t wait to get over to Hardin County and find out what’s behind Easy Gal.
Columnist Don White has served as editor at several Kentucky newspapers. His Kentucky Traveler features are published throughout the state. Contact him at www.thekytraveler.com. The views expressed in this column are those of the writer.