Minnesota March 25, 2018
Most People Don’t Know The Meaning Behind These 11 Minnesota Town Names
Minnesota has been a state since 1858, but its history goes back much further. With the state’s varied heritage — Native American, French, German, and Scandinavian — it’s not surprising that we have some interestingly named towns. Sometimes they’re named after famous residents or the surrounding landscape, but there’s almost always an interesting story attached. Stick around to learn how these 11 Minnesota towns came to be.
This town, located in Faribault County, is no stranger to being the butt of a joke. That may be why the town was featured in a 2016
Preparation H commercial
. However, the small town of about 500 people was actually named for Judge Jacob Armel Kiester.
2. Castle Danger
There is debate over how Castle Danger got its name. One story says that three Norwegian anglers may have thought the cliffs along the shoreline resembled a castle. Another story suggests that a boat named Castle was once grounded there. Either way, Castle Danger sure is an unusual name.
First established in 1882 on the side track for the Great Northern Railway, the tiny community of Quamba was originally called Mud Creek after the creek that flows there. When the depot was built, the name was changed to Quamba, which was derived from an Indian word for "mudhole."
Did you know the name of this Twin Port has French origins? Duluth was named for the first known European to visit the area, Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut. Greysolon was a Frenchman sent to the area in order to expand French influence and control in North America.
5. Sleepy Eye
Sleepy Eye is named after Ishtakaba, a Native American chief who was also known as Chief Sleepy Eye. Chief Sleepy Eye was known for his friendships with explorers, missionaries, traders and government officials.
In the 1700s, French fur trappers helped dub the town as they tried to navigate the twisty river strewn with driftwood and debris. The frequent curves, chunks of wood and low water levels would wreak havoc on their canoes. The French called the river the Riviere d’Embarras, best translated as the "River of Obstacles." In the early 19th century, it began showing up on maps as Embarrass River. The town that formed around it took on the unusual name.
This tiny town of under 300 people gets its funny name from a popular chewing tobacco company from the time it was named, way back in the lat 1800s. Climax Chewing tobacco was a favorite of baseball players everywhere and quickly became a household name.
Typically an insult, Nimrod certainly doesn’t sound like a name of a town! Nimrod’s name actually has a wholesome origin. It's named after a man from the Bible called Nimrod. Nimrod was said to be Noah’s great-grandson. So while the name may seem odd now, whoever named it had their heart in the right place!
Tiny town of Nowthen was known as Burns Township until 2008, when it was incorporated as the city of Nowthen. Because of that, it's pretty easy to trace its name origins. The name Nowthen was coined by the town’s first postmaster, James Hare, who had the habit of saying, "Now, then," in conversation.
Previously the town was named Hamilton after the city in Ontario, Canada, Savage was eventually given a name of its own. It comes from Marion Willis Savage, a man who owned and trained the famous racehorse named Dan Patch!
Being the Land of 10,000 Lakes, its no wonder many of Minnesota's towns are named after them. There's no exception for the famously difficult-to-pronounce Mahtomedi. The town's name actually comes from the Dakota word for nearby White Bear Lake. Mato means gray bear, and mde means lake. Put them together, and you have Mahtomedi.
Minnesota is full of towns with unusual names. Know one we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!