American placenames, Board of Geographical Names, Dead Bastard Peak, Dead Mule California, Delirium Tremens California, Effin, Facebook, Facebook homenames, Limerick leader, Nipple mountains, Puke California, Rude American placenames, Shitbritches Creek, Superior Bottom Virginia, Teton Mountains, Tight Wad Missouri, Toad Suck Arkansas, Two tits Montana, US Cartographical history
Naturally, with Facebook being American, I had thought that this reticence was due to the closeness of the name to something rudely sexual. I assumed it was down to prissy bowdlerisation. I am however informed this is not so, the real reason being that Facebook saw Effin as a district rather than a town, but wondering about American prudery past, reminded me it had robbed us of other more colourful hometowns. Facebook beware!
Once, America was peppered with little hamlets and shanty towns, whose names were of quite eye-watering rudeness. A rush of mid-nineteenth century rough frontier vulgarity threw up these cartographical gems for them only in their turn to became rigorously exorcised, when in the 1890’s, President Harrison set up his importantly named Board of Geographic Names puffed up with American pride and monroeism, run on a shoestring, solidly termined to smooth over some of those less socially acceptable to the folks back east.
And so we have said goodbye then to Californian greats such as Delirium Tremens, Dead Mule, Puke, or Shitbritches Creek. Colorado boasted a Dead Bastard Peak. Indeed the west was once crowded with Nipple mountains, Two Tits California, Two Tits Montana, or (a lone survivor) the Teton Mountains. Presumably the Board could not read French.
Toad Suck, Arkansas only panders to pre-existing stereotypes as surely as Tightwad Missouri. And only in West Virginia does one have a Superior Bottom. Virginia really did have a Fucking Creek complete with its Tickle Cunt branch. One can only imagine how they got their names.
But, Who’d have thought it, Alabama must surely surely, be due a revival?
Copyright David Macadam 2012