Ever wonder what word most commonly appears in your State’s place names? Me neither, nevertheless the map above is really interesting. The overwhelming majority of states have the rather unoriginal ‘city’ as the most common word.
However, there a few interesting outliers, for example the most common word in West Virginia’s place names is ‘west.’ To make sure people know they’re in Hawaii, a lot of place names include the word ‘Hawaiian’. And people in Montana seem to like the word ‘lodge’, a lot.
Less surprising, New Mexico and California both have a lot of place Spanish originating place names.
The data is based on:
US Census (all cities/towns/villages which would appear on a list of a state’s largest places by population – basically all incorporated places with the exception of WI towns, MI charter townships, and HI CDP’s)
Note that the word had to be a separate word, so ‘Lakeville’ or ‘Bearcreek’ did NOT have ‘creek’ or ‘lake’ counted for them.
Highest word counts: 53 Lake’s in WI (fyi Wisconsin has the most places of any state by far, with 1,852), 51 Beach’s in FL, 44 Lake’s in MN, 41 City’s in MO, 40 City’s in TX
For more read:
- Names On The Land – A Historical Account Of Place-naming In The United States
- A Place Called Peculiar: Stories About Unusual American Place-Names
- California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names
Did you find any of these surprising? Let us know in the comments section below:
richard trk says
“park” in new jersey sure makes sense considering it is the garden state
Brilliant Maps says
Indeed, although you’d think they might also just go with garden.