There are just some towns out there with names that make you scratch your head in wonder. Such is the case with these 13 places in South Dakota. Their names are nothing short of unusual but many do have an origin. By looking into the history of the towns, you can learn just why they have the name they do and where it came from, so let’s take a look!
This little town in the very top right corner of South Dakota was founded in 1898. The name, though unusual, did not come from an unusual way. Like many early settlements, it was named after one of its earliest residents - F. H. Peever.
2. Box Elder
The obvious origin of Box Elder would be that it was named after box elder trees, but it's actually named after the nearby creek - Boxelder Creek - and THAT place is named after box elder trees. Luckily, neither are related to the similarly named boxelder bugs. Those things are so annoying!
This is a fun one to say out loud, but that's beside the point. The name Waubay comes from the Lakota Sioux language. It means "a place where numbers of birds make their nest." It's very true to its name - a national wildlife refuge is located here that is home to more than 100 species of birds, namely waterfowl.
Let me be blunt with you here, I'm awful at puns. And Blunt is, too - it was named after the railroad official John E. Blunt, which was very common during the settling of the Dakota Territory back in the late 1800s. Many towns were only created as the railroad went through and were named after members of the railroad as a result.
To follow up Blunt, Highmore was named simply for its high elevation of 1,886 ft. Its town motto is "A Great Place To Live, Work, And Play."
As the sign states, Kadoka is the gateway to the badlands. The origin of the name would say slightly different, as Kadoka means "hole in the wall" in Lakota.
Hooker is a near-ghost town in Turner County. The post office closed in 1954 and now it is mostly empty. The name came from a settler, John Hooker, and nothing else.
Though Bonesteel sounds like a pretty tough name at first, the town is actually very pleasant. The name didn't come from any sort of scary legend or person, either, simply from the name of a man who worked as a freight forwarder in that county.
Pukwana is home to 285 residents and the "Puk U" bar. It was actually originally named Carlton. The name Pukwana can mean the smoke of a peace-pipe, or a signal or beacon.
Volin, South Dakota was not named after any sort of instrument - and if it was, whoever named it would have made a typo - but after Henry P. Volin, who owned land in the area, in 1887.
The name of this town has quite the history, actually. Athol wasn't Athol at all at first. It was Myrtle City, after the first settler child born there, but when the railroad came through it was changed to what it is today. That name was based off of a city in Massachusetts named Athol, and THAT city was named after the second Duke of Atholl, Scotland. The duke's name was James Murray.
12. Johnson Siding
This town is more of just a roadside stop and a popular resting spot for bikers during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. While it sounds like the name of some house siding company (I'm pretty sure I've heard a radio jingle some time in my life for some sort of Johnson Siding), it's actually named after a siding along a railroad track near Rapid Creek.
While this looks like a typo of Alaska (which would be very easy to make considering the keyboard layout), the true meaning is "uncertain" in the Sioux language. Only 42 people live there and the railway service stopped going to Akaska in 1940.
Did you know about the origins of any of these town names? Some of these are very remote and not many people even know they exist, just like
these rural South Dakota towns.