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Georgia Towns: What Were They Thinking??

Updated on August 30, 2013


Sometimes ya just gotta wonder about how towns got their names. Take Georgia, for instance. I was born here, and I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve heard the names of many towns and cities in the state since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and never really thought too much about it until the past couple of years. Guess I’m getting old and bored. Recently, however, I’ve begun to wonder, what in heck were they thinking when they named that place?

Georgia seems bent on extremes when it comes to the names of her towns. Either they have no originality at all, or they’re so unique as to seem strange and often un-pronounceable to outsiders. As for the totally unoriginal names copied from other places or fictitious characters, we have the following:

Vienna (pronounced vi-enner)





Berlin (BER-lin – not like in Germany)

Eldorado (el der a der)

Albany (all benny)


Nashville (naish vul)


Valdosta ( after Val d’Aosta, in Italy)



Cairo ( kay ro)











Waterloo (I’m pretty sure this isn’t where Napoleon was defeated)

Santa Claus (makes it easy to take the kids to see Santa Claus)

And then there’s one that sounds like it was copied, but it wasn’t:  Lenox. Not like in England, but as in “lean ox.” The tiny town was named after a skinny cow, and they have a festival each fall to celebrate the humble beginnings.

So, actually, you can see the whole world without ever leaving Georgia. Who knew? You can tell your pals you went to Cairo for the weekend, or that you’re planning a trip to Rome. Or you’re going to do some shopping in Denmark. How does dinner in Vienna sound?


At the other end of the spectrum, we have the following:


Pavo  (PAY vo)





Nahunta (nay HUN ner)




Inaha (EYE nuh haw)


Uvalda (you VAL duh)







Dacula (da KWEWL uh)


Gardi  (gard eye)

Ty Ty (tie tie)

Screven (screb m)


Poulan:  I must share this story. This little town is pronounced like Poland, and it’s just down the road from Ty Ty. In 1939, a group of farmers were having coffee in Ty Ty’s Shack Café. Suddenly, a local bursts in all excited, exclaiming, “The Germans just invaded Poland!”  The startled farmers jumped up, saying, “Oh, my God! I gotta get home and get my shotgun! They’ll be here before lunch!”

Ludowici (LOO duh WISS ee): Another true story. Once a northern couple was passing through this hamlet on the way to Savannah, and they stopped at the local Dairy Queen to get a burger. The man steps up to the counter and says to the young girl behind it, “I want you to pronounce the name of this place very slowly for me.” She looks at him strangely and says, “Daaiirryy Queeen.”

In addition to its unoriginal and wacky names, I think Georgia has the most beautiful name for a town in the whole world: Rising Fawn. This small town is located in the northwest corner of the state, an area of steep hills, canyons, gulches, creeks, and rushing waterfalls. Just the name brings to my mind misty mountains, verdant woods, and early Native Americans. Rising Fawn is home to Cloudland Canyon State Park, one of the most scenic spots in Georgia.



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    • profile image

      winfong1 5 years ago

      Great stuff. Here's another blog post along the same lines:

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Yeah, Jan - I think it's a Southern "thang"! lol

    • JanSlagell profile image

      JanSlagell 7 years ago from North Carolina

      I spent most of my life in Georgia and have always been amused by many unique and colorful names. I now live another Southern state where city names are just as interesting. Thanks for a great article- I enjoyed it!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Interesting, Janie! I read that Adel was named after PhilADELphia??

    • profile image

      janie Hopwood 8 years ago

      Some of the towns were named by the railroaders who were lonesome for their sweethearts. Cordele after Cordelia, Adel after Adele, ect. Enigma is the most interesting according to rumor.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      That's right, Pam. Many of the names are Native American. Thanks for visiting!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 8 years ago from Oklahoma

      I'll just bet you many of those unusual names are Native American they sound like they are. It's fun to research and find out where names came from. We have some funny ones here in Oklahoma too.

      Great blog.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Glad you enjoyed it, Coolmon! Thanks for reading!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 8 years ago from Texas, USA

      Haven't been to Georgia yet, but I sure I will sooner or later. I thought we had strange names here in Texas, will have to note the names when the day comes I am driving though Georgia in route to Florida. Good Hub very interesting

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Isn't that a beautiful name for a town? So glad you took the time to read and comment!

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 8 years ago from SE US

      I think I've hit almost every one of these in my meanderings EXCEPT Rising Fawn! I can't wait to drive through there. I stand in awe - I thought I knew Georgia backwards and forwards. Thanks for a great read!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Yep, Randy lives in an even smaller town that makes Adel and Sparks look like large cities!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 8 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Well Mit, the Adel (pronounced A-dell) city limits abuts the city limits of Sparks, thus the saying "Adel is so close to hell you can see Sparks." I live in the same county as these two little towns. Actually, Hahira is probably closer to ten miles from Sparks but there are many such references to the town of Sparks. LOL

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      I used to live in Sparks! Thanks for visiting!

    • Mit Kroy profile image

      Mit Kroy 8 years ago from Georgia,USA

      My dad told me a story about the little town of Sparks,Ga.(which is only two miles or so from Hahira,Ga.)A friend of his, who lived in Hahira said,"He lived so close to hell;He could see sparks."

      One of the reasons the names sound like they do is because their Creek,Cherokee,and Choctaw.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Randy, Lenox is sacred only because it is your dwelling place.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 8 years ago from Southern Georgia

      What, you're throwing off on Lenox? Is nothing sacred anymore?

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      True! If I included all those, I could fill an entire book!

    • Ellen_C profile image

      Ellen_C 8 years ago

      next thing is just to then add the "unincorporated" onto the end of it lol! I grew up in GA and know what you are talking about with these names..

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      From one Georgia girl to another Georgia girl, you know I ofter laugh about some of the names too. What about some of the areas of some of the towns, such as Peeridge, Stumptown, Walleskee, Cabbagetown. The spelling may be wrong, but that's the correct pronunciation. Very cute hub. I had toyed with the idea of writing a hub about Georgia, now I think I will go ahead and do it.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks! Yep, I believe the residents are called Spartans!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      nice information about those city. I looks wonderful city. I'll go there someday.

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 8 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      The town named Sparta..LOL

      like from the movie 300!

      Are the people who live there called Spartans by the other locals,cause that would be neat!:)

      Great hub habee thanks for sharing!:D

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      Good stuff here. thanks for sharing it. Love the anecdotes at the end too. Daaiirryy Queeen, hehe

      We have Knockemstiff and Rat along with some of yours. Love Georgia, it's all red though. lol