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Have You Ever Been in Funk?

Updated on June 20, 2015
Funk | Source

The funny names of several small towns in America fascinate me. You may remember visiting Mianus … in Connecticut.

Well, how about Funk? Have you ever been in Funk?

No, I’m not talking about a depressed state of mind. I mean Funk, a tiny village in Phelps County, south central Nebraska.

Take Highway 34 which runs right through Funk. The official name of this road is Grand Army of the Republic Highway which stands for Civil War veterans who had fought for the Union. The G.A.R. as it became known provided support for these Union veterans.

Downtown Funk with grain elevators
Downtown Funk with grain elevators | Source

Although there are only about 200 farming folks who reside there, you can’t miss the place. Funk is the spot with the gigantic grain elevators which take up most of the space along Main Street in the town.

Are you wondering how did Funk get its charming name? A gentleman named Philip Churchill Funk who emigrated with his wife from Wiesbaden, Germany, convinced a large railroad to establish a railway station there in 1887.

In anticipation, Herr Funk and colleagues had purchased 60 acres of Funkian land that year.


In 1903, a telephone company was established and soon Funk had the first dial phone system installed in the area.

By 1913, Funk was a thriving village with three grain elevators, two churches, two barbershops, and a hardware store, drug store, meat market, grocery store, brickyard, hotel, department store, millinery store and a blacksmith shop.

That Funk fellow must have been a pretty persuasive guy.

Are you wondering about all those gigantic grain elevators on Main Street? They exist because tremendous fields of corn completely encircle Funk.

Most of the Funkians are employed by the Farmer Co-op Grain and Supply Company which also owns a service station and manages a café. Other thriving businesses include mechanic shops, a tractor dealer, a finance company, and a craft store named the Funk Emporium.

Can you imagine the funky stuff you might stumble upon in that shop?

So … if you want to live on Easy Street – that’s really the name of the street – move to Funk.

And don’t forget to visit Mianus.

Footnote: Funk has other meanings besides a state of sadness. Funky can also mean something that has a foul odor like smelly socks; something that is artistic or cool; or a type of R&B music made popular by singer, James Brown.

For an example of the latter, listen to the background music of ‘Funky Town’ in this scene from ‘Shrek 2’:

Funky Town' music - 'Shrek 2' film

Favorite ‘small town’ quote by Will Rogers: "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip."

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."

Comments for Have You Ever Been in Funk?

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    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks for stopping by, Patricia. Although there isn't much to see in Funk besides the tremendous fields of corn and the gigantic grain elevators, it is fun to know that you have been in Funk and returned safe and sound.

      Sorry about that storm you had but happy to know you were faster than your lawn umbrella. Amusing you is my pleasure, y'know.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, JamaGenee. What a coincidence! You had a teacher named Funk, too. Seems there was quite an influx of Funks, pardon the expression, to the Midwestern states.

      Thanks for the visit and the anecdote, m'dear.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 years ago from sunny Florida

      O my....Funk it is. And no, can't say I have ever been there but if I get up that way I know it will be on my list of must see places.

      Thanks for the smile, drbj

      Hoping all is good for you this afternoon. We just got over a BIG storm...I had to chase my lawn umbrella around a bit...the storm came up very quickly.

      Keep on amusing us, please. Angels are headed your way Voted up++++

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      3 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      drbj, no I've never been in Funk, Nebraska, but I suspect its founder was a relative of the ancestors of the Mr. Funk who was my 6th grade teacher back in the Dark Ages. I know from his obit that "Teacher" Funk's ancestors were also farmers from Germany who settled in central Kansas in Marion and Harvey counties. Maybe Nebraska wasn't big enough for them, or the Kansas Funk's preferred to settle farther south in a "warmer" climate. ;D

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Alicia. Love to see you here, especially since you find this info interesting, amusing and informative. Three of my favorite adjectives, y'know.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, MizB. You are correct about Funk being a famous name. It IS popular in Germany And I do remember the two Funk sons - even saw them wrestle on TV a few times. But missed seeing Daddy Funk, Sr.

      Re your question, I could not find any association with Herr Funk though they could be distant relatives.

      Thanks for finding this interesting and the Up, m'luv.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Genna. I can understand your surprise about Funk. I was surprised, too. Wait 'til you read my next funny-named-town hub - you will not believe its name. Thanks for your regular attendance at my posts, m'dear, and for loving that Will Rogers quote as I do.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Bill. Funk and the rest of Nebraska look a lot like the rest of the Midwest: especially Illinois, Indiana and Iowa with all those corn fields. Don't believe there is a Funk in Kansas ... yet, but I will check with Toto.

      Have a glorious weekend.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Now you know for sure, bp, I'm going to check out BlueBalls in PA. When I visit, shall I mention your name? Just askin'.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Jodah. Paradise is a lovely place to visit I would imagine. Yes, the U.S. has more than its share of bizarre town names. If I last long enough, I'll take a look at strangely-named places in Australia and the U.K. as well.

      Blackbutt and Mount Mee do seem intriguing and worthy of further investigation ... so to speak.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Sherry. I've been to Hell in the Cayman Islands several times and those lava outcroppings there do look like an imaginary Hades. The souvenir shop there does extremely well selling 'Hell' t-shirts and postcards. At least someone is making money in Hell.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      We have something in common, Rochelle. I once had a teacher in grade school with that name. We never stopped making childish jokes about it. You can imagine what her name was compared to. ;)

      I'll be happy to count both Weed and Hangtown as weird-named places you have visited. Thanks for the visit, m'dear.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Shanmarie. I did have the other meaning of funk in mind when I wrote the title for this hub. Not surprised though that you have never been in the village of Funk. It is kinda out of the way.

      I've been in a few other strangely-named towns, too.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is interesting, amusing and informative, as always, drbj.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      3 years ago from Beautiful South

      I'll bet that's where the band Grand Funk Railroad got its name. I've never been to Nebraska so I've never been there. Funk really is a famous name. Back in wrestling's heyday from the mid-1960 to at least the mid-80s, the Southwest syndicate was managed (and controlled) by Dory Funk Sr. His two sons, Dory Jr. and Terry, were also big-name wrestlers. They were out of Oklahoma. I wonder if they were related to Herr Funk? Anyway, very interesting info. Voted up

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Oh my goodness...there IS a town named, Funk. Who knew? What an interesting and fun hub, Drbj. And I loved that Will Rogers quote. :-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm not sure I've ever been in Nebraska, so I can't answer your question. Maybe when I was a little kid...does it look like Kansas? Maybe I'm getting them mixed up. Is there a Funk, Kansas? That could explain it all. :)

    • breakfastpop profile image


      3 years ago

      For me it is BlueBalls, Pa.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I've been to paradise, but I've never been to Funk :) I never tire of the funny names of towns in the USA, drbj, even though we have a few strange ones too eg. Blackbutt, Mount Mee etc.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      3 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I've been to Hell, in the Grand Cayman Islands.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      3 years ago from California Gold Country

      I have not either, though I did have a high school classmate with that last name.

      I've been in Weed, California., and I've been in Hangtown-- though that might not count since they had changed the name to Placerville, by then.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Hmmm. I must admit I thought your

      title asked if I've ever been in a funk. LOL. Nope, never been in Funk. I have, however, been in a lot of other strangely named towns.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      I remember reading once about the warm springs in Deception Island, Antarctica. And the chinstrap penguin that makes its home there. I'll see what I can find and dedicate it to you, m'dear.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 

      3 years ago from USA

      Howdy Good Doctor BJ (drbj on HubPages) - For your next travelogue, try "Warm Springs, Antarctica." Not that easy to find on the map, but it has its good points, nonetheless. Mostly less. Largely none.

      Gus :-)))


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