With a diverse history, its only natural that America would have some of the strangest town names. Read about the stories (or guesses) behind some of the strangest names for towns.
Chicago’s South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville originated with the influx of black Americans who came to this city from the South during the Great Migration at the turn of the 20th century. It was said to be one of the largest black neighborhoods in Chicago by World War I.
In the 1930s, an editor at the Chicago Bee newspaper reportedly called the neighborhood Bronzeville, in proud recognition of residents’ skin color.
French Quarter (New Orleans)
Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, established New Orleans on a patch of high ground along a bend in the Mississippi River. According to the National Park Service, which has designated the French Quarter a historic district, the neighborhood still nearly follows the city plan laid out in 1721. But fires destroyed most of the original French Colonial buildings in 1788 and 1794.
In fact, much of the French Quarter’s distinctive architecture, including the wrought-iron balconies, dates back to a subsequent period of Spanish rule.
The neighborhood, mainly spared from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is still a major tourist destination and a prime residential district.
Goose Hollow (Portland, Ore.)
Just a few minutes from downtown Portland, Goose Hollow is a neighborhood in the southwestern part of the city. Its name reportedly comes from the 19th-century practice of local farmers letting their geese run free in the hollow, or gulch, that ran through the area.
According to the neighborhood’s website, Tracy J. Prince, author of the book “Portland’s Goose Hollow,” found an 1875 newspaper article that described the geese clearing entire vegetable patches as they traversed the neighborhood.
The name of this posh Atlanta community comes from a general store and tavern founded by Henry Irby in 1837. Legend has it that Irby once killed a large deer and mounted the buck’s head in a prominent spot where it would be visible to tourists.
Flatiron District (New York City)
This Manhattan neighborhood gets its name from its signature tower, originally called the Fuller Building. It was one of the city’s tallest when it was completed in 1902. The 22-story building is on a triangular lot between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, and its shape reminded turn-of-the-century New Yorkers of a clothes iron. This led to the neighborhood’s current name, which didn’t stick until the 1980s.
The area has become fashionable in recent years with new restaurants, stores and housing. The New York Times recently wrote that new construction and the conversion of commercial and industrial space added more than 1,000 housing units to the area between 2000 and 2010. But bargain hunters should probably look elsewhere: The average list price here is $2.94 million as of April 25, according to Trulia.com.