Is ‘Free Soil’ The Weirdest Town Name In Michigan? Nope, Here are the Top Five
The real estate web site Estately has released another map, this one claiming to show the weirdest town name in every state. You know what town name they have for Michigan? Free Soil.
Really? In a state with a Slapneck, a Felch, and a Dick, that's all you can come up with? Let's take a tour of the Top Five goofy Michigan town names, shall we?
In reality, the town of Free Soil's name comes from pretty noble origins. The town was named in 1882 (and officially incorporated in 1912) after the Free Soil political party. The Free Soil party was an anti-slavery off shoot of the Whig Party, and was eventually merged with the Republican Party.
According to Wikipedia, Free Soil candidates ran on a platform that declared: "...we inscribe on our banner, 'Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor and Free Men,' and under it we will fight on and fight ever, until a triumphant victory shall reward our exertions."
Does that sound weird to you? It doesn't to me. Free Soil, which is northeast of Ludington, doesn't even appear on any list of funny Michigan town names ever published online. So why did they choose Free Soil? Not sure, really, and they have yet to return my calls, so here's a list of town names that are way weirder than Free Soil:
Corpse Pond -- Okay, not technically a town, this oddly named body of water is located just east of Watersmeet in the Upper Peninsula's Ontonagon County. Watersmeet, incidentally, while not weird itself, does have a high school whose sports teams are called the 'Nimrods'. There is no explanation as to why it's called that, but the fishing there is pretty good, I'm told.
5. Climax -- We've all snickered at the exit for this town off I-94 when we were 12 and such things were funny. (Okay, I still laugh at it.) Located southeast of Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo County, according to 'The Origin Of Certain Place Names In The United States' Climax was so named because when Daniel B. Eldred first visited the township he said, "This caps the climax." Huh? Would a little more context help? How about this from the Kalamazoo Public Library:
When Judge Caleb Eldred came to Climax in 1834, ending months of weary travels to find a farm site, the area was a vast prairie for miles in the newly-formed county. To get a better view, his son Dan climbed a tree and said, "this caps the climax of everything we saw." So they named the place Climax Prairie. Today, this historic and innovative village is just five minutes from Interstate 94, 15 minutes from Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.
Nope. It didn't help.
4. Felch -- A township in Dickinson County in the Western Upper Peninsula. Please, for the love of God, don't Google Felch. Just don't.
3. Dick -- Located west of Rudyard in Chippewa County in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Dick is in middle of fricking nowhere. You could honestly say there isn't dick around Dick, except maybe Haff.
2. Hell -- Perhaps the most well known weird town name in Michigan, here's a town that celebrates it's unusual name! There's a Go To Hell website, pimping various Hell t-shirts and mugs, and a Roadside America page, highlighting hellish stuff to do in Hell, like visit a church in Hell, and the Damn Site Inn. The town is currently for sale if you want some action on the thermometer that indicates how cold you have to be to be 'colder than Hell' in the winter.
1. Slapneck -- This town is literally at the end of a dirt road in Alger County along Slapneck Creek, the area now is usually regarded more as an extension of the town of Chatham nearby. According to a Chatham blog, the area got it's name from John Slapnick, who settled the area, not for the constant neck slapping one generally does because of the giant mosquitoes in the woods near there.