One day while meandering around the net as most of us do, I stumbled across several websites with lists of American Towns with odd, strange, and otherwise funny sounding names.
Most of the town names are funny only because the English language keeps evolving and words are discontinued or their meaning changes. The classic American example: “This is a gay party. Queer that Charles isn’t here. Can you light my fag?”
As I read and chuckled like “Beavis and Butthead”™ I noticed that a good majority contained the word “lick”. Why I wondered.
Our first clue is in the definition of lick.
n ” Lick” is a place where salt is found on the surface of the earth, to which wild animals resort to lick it up; — often, but not always, near salt springs.
So now we have a basis for understanding.
As an example, Paint Lick, Kentucky reputedly derived its name from settlers’ descriptions of the peeled tree trunks that served as a means of marking the salt licks along the creek by Native Americans.
However, understanding the origins does not make it any less humorous to the juvenile part of my brain. So allow me to present to you…
We begin first with the purist of the “Lick Towns”
Lick (Missouri), Lick (Ohio) and Lick (Illinois).
Then we gain a little momentum with Licking (Missouri), Licking (Indiana), Licking (Illinois), Licking (W. Virginia) and Licking (Pennsylvania).
Now let’s go large with Big Lick (Tennessee), Big Lick (North Carolina), Big Lick (Virginia) and Lick Mountain (Arkansas).
Let’s add a little color with Black Lick (Pennsylvania) Blacklick (Ohio) Blue Lick (Kentucky) Blue Lick (Indiana) and Red Lick (Texas)
How about some cooking utensils like: Lickskillet (Ohio), Lick Skillet (Virginia) Lick Fork (Virginia) and Lick Fork (Kentucky).
Now for the animals. There is: Otter Lick (W. Virginia) Lizard Lick (N. Carolina) Beaver Lick (Missouri) Beaver Lick (Kentucky) and not to be outdone, Big Beaver Lick also in Kentucky
While on that subject let’s ad French Lick (Indiana), Lickinghole (Virginia), Knob Lick (Missouri) and Big Bone Lick (Kentucky). But you should keep it brief with Two Lick Run (W. Virginia).
Here are some stragglers that didn’t seem to fit anywhere else. Lick Creek (Illinois) Slate Lick (Pennsylvania) Boones’ Lick (Missouri) Loutre Lick (Missouri) Lick Branch and Clover Lick (W. Virginia).
Now after seeing this list you should have made at least two observations. First, most of the “Lick Towns” seem to be in Southern States, and the majority of those are in Kentucky.
What does it mean?
I haven’t the foggiest.
Here are all the “Lick Towns” (that I know of) in Kentucky:
Because of so many “Lick Towns” in Kentucky I guess it comes as no surprise that Colonel Sanders came up with the slogan he did for KFC (for those of you who remember the Good-Old-Days that would be Kentucky Fried Chicken) You know, “It’s Finger Lickin Good”.
I’m now thinking of writing an article about “Suck Towns”.
I think I’ll begin with Toad Suck (Arkansas).