Welcome. It sounds so welcoming when used as a town name, as if the town founders and developers genuinely wanted visitors and residents alike to enjoy their time there. It sets a nice tone and a pleasant expectation. Settlements named Welcome exist in a number of areas. I’m a little surprised there aren’t actually a few more.
Welcome, North Carolina
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Welcome, NC is the largest of the Welcomes, with nearly four thousand residents. It’s probably the best known of the bunch. It might have received more attention if it stood in a slightly more isolated location but it’s lost amidst several much larger towns and cities nearby such as Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and Lexington.
I appreciate the sign they’ve placed along the roadside. You might be able to just barely see it in the Street View image: "Welcome to Welcome" is what it says. It’s not entirely creative but give them points for simplicity and sincerity. I can’t think of any other town names where one can create such an elegant symmetry. I take that back — how about "Amble to Amble, Michigan." Are there others? Maybe you can come up with better ones. That’s a contest, folks.
Welcome, the town, is most notable as the home base for Richard Childress Racing and the RCR Museum, for those of you who follow NASCAR.
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Welcome, Minnesota, offers a hearty welcome too. Several hundred people call this town home but I could find precious little more about it. It has great access to Interstate 90. Anything else?
I do know the name comes from a gentleman who owned a farm on the outskirts of town in the Nineteenth Century. Over time the town grew onto his land and eventually took his name. He was Alfred Welcome, an English immigrant who arrived in the years after the U.S. Civil War. That leaves me to wonder if Welcome is truly welcoming, as it’s named for a person rather than a genuine expression of emotion.
I noticed several other Welcome towns. Welcome, Georgia includes streets with names like Welcome Rd., Welcome Sargent Rd., and Welcome-to-Arnco Rd. In Mississippi the townspeople are even more receptive. Here they call it Bewelcome. Visitors will be welcome here, I guess. The street grid includes some rather descriptive names that I may have to research further someday: Busy Corner Rd. (which doesn’t seem to have any busy corners) and my personal favorite, Old 24 Compromise Road. Surely there’s a story behind that.
I also found a Welcome in Ontario, Canada thus proving that North America is the most welcoming of all places, if places called Welcome are any indication.
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Welcome Stranger isn’t a town. It’s the largest alluvial gold nugget ever found, weighing in at 72 kilograms (159 pounds), in 1869 in Victoria, Australia. That’s a lot of welcome! It was so impressive that an obelisk was placed at the spot a few decades later. It’s known as the Welcome Stranger Monument. That’s why it makes the list of welcomes. Geoscience Australia pointed out one more welcoming location, a place in Queensland although it doesn’t look very welcoming at all. In fact it looks downright hostile.
I then turned to the United Kingdom but found no Welcomes anywhere, not because it’s an unwelcoming place I’m certain, but probably because everything was already named.