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Community / Public space

Here is a very important map of the most obscene town names in each of the 50 United States

PRs send me a lot of inforgraphics produced by corporations, in a transparent attempt to get some free press coverage. Generally I ignore them, or if I’m in a particularly good mood tell them that we’d be delighted to help them with their marketing just as soon as they give us some money, because we’ve got bills to pay too, you know, and if you want the benefits of coverage in an independent media then you need to ensure there’s still an independent media to get coverage in, and sooner or later someone is going to have to start investing money into journalism because the lights are going to go out, you hear what I’m saying?

Anyway. My point is, I generally refuse to publish stuff put together by corporate marketing teams. Corporate infographics: just say no.

So understand, then, that I do not make the decision to publish this map lightly. This is an important piece of research, one which says so much about the political and cultural moment currently facing the United States in the run up to the presidential election.

Such as, for example, that there’s a place in the important swing state of Ohio which genuinely goes by the name of Pee Pee Township:

White papers from our partners

Click to expand.

It’s named for Pee Pee Creek, which was in turn named for some initials carved into a tree. So, now you know.


Some of these “lewd-sounding” town names are a bit of a disappointment. Effingham, New Hampshire, and Essex, Connecticut, both take their names from places in England (a Surrey village and a county, respectively) which makes it quite difficult for me to see them as rude. (I mean, they’re hardly Pratt’s Bottom, are they?) And Bangor, Maine, is clearly named after the place in Wales.

Even Virgin, which is objectively a term related to sex, or at least the absence of it, sounds a whole lot less obscene when you read its name as “Virgin, Utah”, which sounds like they mean virgin as in “a lovely empty stretch of desert land”, rather than as in “The 40 year old-”.

But other here are objectively just obscene. Intercourse, Pennsylvania is a village of 1,200, deep inside Amish country. Wankers Corner, Oregon is a real locale, albeit one with no known residents. Then there’s Dick, Michigan, which appears on Google Maps and Facebook but not anywhere else, so, hmmm.

My personal favourites, though, are those which are only funny in the context of this map – places whose names don’t sound even slightly dirty until you put them next to those which are. Spread Eagle, Wisconsin. Sugar Bunker, Nevada. Dry Wood, Kansas. And, best of all: Mary’s Igloo, Alaska.

So, to sum up, real estate app Estately has quite a good press team, and I am an actual child.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @jonnelledge.

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