As I prepare for my upcoming trip to Utah, I noticed that I will be collecting one of the counties named for a state, specifically Utah County, Utah. That’s the home county for Provo.
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I realize that I’ve labeled the counties named for states as unimaginative and boring. Let my clarify that before I get a bunch of irate comments. By using that statement I don’t mean the physical locations are burdened by those attributes, I mean the name chosen by their founders to represent the county. Were they lazy? Were they suffering from an inferiority complex? Were they hoping to persuade politicians to locate the state capital in their town?
I don’t really care this time. This will be my first visit to Utah County and my county counting list will grow as a result. Well, I care a little bit, just enough to check out the history of Utah county for about ten minutes. The Utah territory was established in 1850 and the county was founding to 1852. So was the county named for the territory, or were they both named somewhat simultaneously after the Ute Indians? Maybe it’s close enough to avoid the bulk of the truly unimaginative taint.
Perhaps I’ll rationalize this a bit further. Maybe if I create a personal contest I can pull this out of a boring categorization. Going forward, I will attempt to reach each of the counties sharing a name with its home state. There. Now it’s acceptable. So I will soon visit Utah County, UT. I’ve already visited New York County, New York. That’s Manhattan (plus one tiny little neighborhood across the river). I’ve also been to the independent city of Virginia Beach in Virginia but that one feels like cheating. What do you think?
I have not been to any of the others.
- Arkansas County, Arkansas has two county seats, De Witt and Stuttgart. I love counties with multiple seats.
- Hawaii County, Hawaii, is better known as the Big Island. That one is way up on the list of places I’d love to see.
- Idaho County, Idaho, earns my respect. It seems that the County had the name first and not the other way around. That takes Idaho County directly off the unimaginative list, but perhaps adds the state to it?
- Iowa County, Iowa, doesn’t seem to have many distinguishing features although Marengo, its county seat, has an interesting name.
- Oklahoma County, Oklahoma wins the unimaginative trophy, no questions asked. I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating: the height of laziness goes to the person responsible for naming Oklahoma City in Oklahoma County in the State of Oklahoma.
Even though I like to poke fun at the repetitious Oklahoma instances, that actually makes it a more attractive target to visit someday. The others all have their own charms as well although I’m going to have to dig a little deeper on Iowa. The home of the 1985 State Champions in Track and Field for Class 2A probably isn’t going to cut it. Come on, random visitor from Iowa County, Iowa, please give me an excuse to visit your fine corner of the world.
I look forward to filling out my map with all of the counties named for states, as I continue with my quest to visit every county in the United States.