You Live Where, Arkansas?

“I still believe in Hope - mostly because there's no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas.” ~Unknown

I live in Arkansas. I know. It is not my first choice either but Fate has dropped me here. I deal with it – for now. The funny thing about this State is the place names. (I am sure there are others States with wacky place names but I am too lazy to research all fifty.) Some city names make sense. Hot Springs sits on top of – you got it – natural hot springs. It is a spa & resort town because of this reason. Other place names make no sense whatsoever. Little Rock (the capital) may seem like an odd place name, but it is derived from a small rock formation and landmark on the south bank of the Arkansas River called La Petite Roche (the “little rock”). See? Not so strange now - is it? (Thank you Wikipedia.)

Me? I live in Arkadelphia. Someone once told me it sounded fictional. Believe me, I wish it was. Alas, it is not.

Arkansas (The Natural State) + Philadelphia (The City of Brotherly Love) = Arkadelphia (A Great Place To Call Home).

The math does not work in that equation. Not to mention, I disagree wholeheartedly with the city slogan. Arkadelphia does happen to be a college town which is what brought me here the first time.

Arkansas is also one of those States that borrows city names from more prominent places worldwide like Egypt, Paris, Jerusalem and London. Trust me; these towns in no way resemble the great cities/countries for which they were named. Unfortunately, their presence (and others like them) led me into the following conversation on more than one uncomfortable occasion while in college.

“Where are you from?” asks the Arkansas raised college student with whom I am making small talk.

“Kenya,” I answer – wrongly assuming no clarification is needed.

Insert here any number of the following college student reactions: long pause, little lost puppy dog look, a slight cock of the head, eyes rolling upward in deep concentration … whatever … before the sad inevitability of their response.

“Um, where in Arkansas is that?”

So much for higher education, huh? Disturbing.

Still, it is not quite as unsettling as some of the following cities/town in the state of Arkansas. Trust me, the mythical sounding ‘Arkadelphia’ pales in comparison to the following:

  • Ash Flat
    This is the first one and I have no snide comment. How sad.
  • Bald Knob
    I’ll leave you to your own references on this one – rude as they may be.
  • Bono
    What? Did U2 swing through here at some point?
  • Bull Shoals
    Huh? The definition of “shoals” is “a shallow place in a body of water.”
    Shallow bull?
  • Cotton Plant
    Original, huh? I'm sure 'grass,' 'pine tree,' or 'philodendron' was already taken.
  • Diamond City
    Incidentally, Arkansas is the only diamond producing State and has a state park where you can come and dig for your own. I kid you not. Diamond City, however, is located on the 269 miles/433 kilometers from the diamond mine. Not even close.
  • Evening Shade
    You know – as opposed to morning shade or afternoon shade. Someone found it worthy enough to create a television show about said place back in the early 1990s that starred Burt Reynolds. I hated it.
  • Fifty-Six
    Hey! Pick a number between one and a one hundred!
  • Flippin
    I am so flippin happy we named this place! (This would be the favorite of my children. They laugh every time they see it on the Weather Channel.)
  • Hoxie
    Why not boxy, doxy, foxy, moxie, oxy, proxy or roxy??
  • Little Flock
    Apparently, they need more birds in order to come up with a more interesting name.
  • Marked Tree
    Territory issues?
  • Pea Ridge
    You know – ‘cause all peas have these horrible ridges! They are not smooth at all!
  • Piggott
    Pig-what? Actually, it was named for a person. Still. I'd be changing my name if I was born Beth Piggott.
  • Romance
    With 1,732 residents … I’m guessing this isn’t the most romantic spot on the planet. The school teacher who named it (according to legend) must disagree with me greatly.
  • Smackover
    Should I leave this one alone? The name Smackover is an Anglicization of the French “Sumac Couvert” which translates to “covered in sumac." Thank you again Wikipedia. Sumac is a flowering plant and not a particularly attractive one at that.
  • Toad Suck
    OK – This is a park, not a city … but STILL! Come visit and attend the annual Toad Suck Daze festival! :o)
  • Weiner
    Again, you have fun with this one.

Anyone want to move to Arkansas?

“The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you're doing, someone else does.” ~Unknown


  1. Lotta place names like that all over the countryside. There is a Hell, Michigan, and a Manhattan, Kansas. Old mining camps with rude names have recently lost their rough charms due to pablum developers selling gated condo communities.

    I like Bull Shoals, imagining a sea of cattle, or bison.

  2. Love this blog! Ceallach

  3. You left out "Blue Ball" and "Buffalo Hump". They're both real places in Arkansas, and I know even more...

  4. Yes mark ... I left out plenty of places. There were only so many I could remember while composing. :o)


"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman


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