How These Great American Cities Got Their Names

02 August 2016,   By ,   0 Comments

There are interesting stories behind many American city names. Let’s take a trip down the corridors of history to learn these stories of US city names.


In the early 1840s, Atlanta was known as Marthasville in honor of the daughter of former governor Wilson Lumpkin. The name ‘Atlanta’ was said to have been coined by J. Edgar Thomson, chief engineer of the Georgia Railroad in 1847. The reason for this name remains obscure though. While some claim that Martha Lumpkin’s middle name was Atalanta, others say he named the city for the Greek goddess of athleticism. There is a third theory which claims that Thomson only used a part of his original idea which was ‘Atlantica-Pacifica’.


Like so many other cities in New England, the original colonists named the city after their hometown. The city of Boston, MA is a namesake for the city of Boston, Lincolnshire, England. But the original city of Boston, England is very dissimilar to its New World cousin, in that it is a small city with a population barely touching 60, 000.


The Windy City also seems to have an aromatic origin. The name is a derivative of the French corruption of shikaakwa – the word for wild garlic in the native Miami-Illinois dialect. Long ago, wild garlic which we know as ramps proliferated the city and gave it its unique name.


The capital of Colorado is a nod to James W. Denver, a 19th-century Renaissance Congressman. He fought in the U.S. Army and served as Governor of the Kansas Territory. Interestingly, Denver has only visited the city named after him on two occasions – in 1875 and 1882, and was not impressed by the lukewarm welcome he received in a city that was supposed to bring out the red carpet.


An Anglicized version of the name Si’ahl, a Duwamish chief who was a valuable asset to the city’s first white settlers.

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