A city by any other name would be …?

Published 12:52 am Saturday, January 24, 2015

When you are traveling in Alabama or other states, do you ever notice towns with names that are almost similar? I have always confused Evergreen and Greenville. I have to stop and think a minute to picture those towns. Back when I rode the train home from a Birmingham high school every afternoon, I always thought of Brookwood when the conductor called out we were approaching Brookside. Some of my cousins attended Brookwood school near Tuscaloosa.

If you scan a map of Alabama, you will notice more town names with similarities. There is Cottondale and Cottonwood; Greenpond and Green Hill; Kinsey and Kinston; Fruitdale and Fultondale; Midfield and Midway; Gordo and Gordon; Good Hope, Goodsprings and Goodwater; New Hope, New Market and New Site; Peterson and Peterman; Red Bay and Red Level; River Falls and Riverside; Sylvan Springs and Sylvania; and Town Creek and Townley.

Do you notice places with names that appeal to you? Some immediately cause pictures to flash in my head. I often amused myself making lists of them when my husband and I traveled with our RV. Take Walnut Grove. I imagined groves and groves of walnut trees. When I saw a Harvest sign, I thought of a garden. If I had never visited Magnolia Springs, I probably would have pictured magnolia trees in bloom next to some clear flowing spring. And Rainbow City? In my imagination, I saw a rainbow spreading its majesty above a pretty town. Skyline reminded me of a mountain overlooking small villages nested in a valley.

Remember Cottonwood and Cottondale in Alabama? Arkansas has a Cotton Plant. Speaking of Greens, Arkansas has a Green Forest. Arizona has a Green Valley. I found both a Rough Rock and a Round Rock in Arizona. I could not help but wonder how Surprise and Many Farms in Arizona looked.

You do not have to cross the ocean to visit England. There is one in Arkansas. My imagination failed me concerning Smackover, Arkansas, but I did muster up an imagine of Ash Flat on a lonely, dusty road. Bald Knob and Calico Rock were easy—a bare mountain top and a big rock of several colors.

I found that Georgia, like Alabama, has a town named Elberta. It also has towns with colorful names, like Ball Ground and Flowery Branch. Isle of Hope made me think of a stretch of sand beside the sea. And, Lula? Well, I thought of a pretty woman. Rocky Face, if it lived up to its name, must have been a town with a mountain. Young Harris puzzled me.; maybe it was named for a young man who distinguished himself.

Florida has Bonita Springs and Bonita Shores; Callahan and Calloway; Indian Wells and Indian Shores. Then there are Bee Ridge, Golden Rod, and Mulberry. I picture Pine Castle with a mansion in a pine grove.

Here is another colorful Florida town name: Thonotosassa? I can’t imagine anything related to that. And, too, I wonder how to pronounce it.