The mailbag continues to overflow with great topics submitted by readers. It’s wonderful to receive this kind of feedback. I hope to create articles around many of your observations and recommendations as I find the right context and opportunity.
Recently I heard from Jason J. who wanted to know if I’d been aware of a particularly interesting presidential trifecta in Illinois. I hadn’t but it’s certainly unusual enough to fit within the Twelve Mile Circle collection of geo-oddities. Let’s take a closer look.
- Adams County, IL was founding in 1825, and named for John Quincy Adams, the newly-elected president of the United States.
- The county seat and primary town took the name Quincy at that same time, and for the same reason.
- To complete the theme, they named the central gathering point within town, John Square.
What a bizarre tribute: John (square) Quincy (county seat) Adams (county), Illinois. I’ve highlighted the location using Mapquest, because Google Maps still doesn’t draw county lines (and our gentle encouragement hasn’t produced any results).
What if we colonized the moon and decided to name a few more county seats after presidential middle names. We could end up with places in addition to Quincy like Henry, Knox, Simpson, Birchard, Abram, Alan, Howard, Gamaliel, Clark, Delano, S (with or without the period), David, Fitzgerald, Baines, Milhous, Rudolph, Earl, Wilson, Herbert, Jefferson, Walker or Hussein. I wouldn’t mind something like Wilson or Howard, but Milhous or Gamaliel might be a tad more difficult for the postmaster to decipher. Living in "S" might be fun.
I guess at some point the cuteness factor wore-off because they renamed it Washington Square somewhere along the way. It’s listed as Washington Park on various online maps but I’ve done a bit of checking and I’m satisfied that it’s the same place. As an aside, I noticed another interesting feature in Quincy: their main street isn’t Main Street, it’s Maine Street, which they tie in within a larger state-named theme. Those founding fathers of Adams County were clever and they had an unusual sense of humor. Good for them.
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We can still try to force-fit the John Quincy Adams naming convention into place even though John Square no longer exists. Papa John’s Pizza and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches both have places in Quincy. There’s also a Long John Silver’s but I think that’s pushing it a bit too far.
Thanks for the tip, Jason!
Jason also wondered if similar situations existed elsewhere so I decided to see if I could return the favor by heading to the maps — like I ever need an excuse to do that.
I think I found a winner, by George.
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There is a town called George in the state of Washington. That’s right, I found George, Washington. I know, a painful pun, right? Some of the streets even have cherry-themed names in tribute to the old folklore I suspect.
It gets even better. Head a few miles northeast and you’ll see George and Martha Lakes. Husband and wife are memorialized by adjacent geographic features.
I also found a few other presidential oddities but not nearly of the same magnitude.
- Jefferson Co., Florida has its county seat in Monticello, named after Thomas Jefferson’s famous homestead.
- There is a town in Texas called Nixon, although not in honor of the former president. It had another coincidental naming, with Franklin and Roosevelt Avenues running in parallel. Sadly it didn’t have a Delano Ave. between them (even a D. Street would have sufficed) or it would have made a complete FDR. Nixon and FDR would have been an odd juxtaposition. Too bad; another missed opportunity.
- Lincoln Co., Colorado has a town called Punkin Center. I mention that only because I like silly places with kooky names.
Are there other counties named for presidents with towns (bonus points for county seats) or other geographic features named for things relating to that specific president?
Tangent Alert: I wonder why I’ve seen an unusual spike in traffic related to the lowest elevation in Nepal this morning. I have a nice page on that topic but it seems odd to have two hundred people wanting an answer to the same basic question, all at the same time. There must be another geo-trivia contest going on or maybe a homework assignment? Strange.
I haven’t forgotten about your request, Katy! It’s a more difficult task than I imagined but I’ll find something interesting with a little more searching.