The 25 weirdest Wisconsin town names


Only in Wisconsin will you find towns with names as strange as Footville.

Aahh, weird Wisconsin, how I love you. Truth is, I appreciate a well-named town. I do not mean bizarre when I say well-named. Here are 25-and believe me, that’s just a sampling-of Wisconsin’s oddly named communities:

  1. Arkansaw (Pepin County)Arkansaw, Wis. was named after the Arkansas River. While I am not certain when the ‘S’ was changed to a W, I can see their logic.
  2. Avalanche (Vernon County)I have to wonder if an introvert named this town as a strategic way of deterring others from moving in. We’re on to you, citizens of Avalanche…
  3. Bluff Siding (Buffalo County)Evidently, Bluff Siding got its name from the rocky bluffs near the town site. Props to the very practical town-namer of Bluff Siding.
  4. Bosstown (Richland County)I find myself sitting up extra straight while driving through the tiny town of Bosstown.
  5. Cleghorn (Eau Claire County)I like this one because it sounds like the name of a character from Harry Potter.
  6. Dairyland (Douglas County)Shouldn’t this be our capital?
  7. Disco (Jackson County)I dream of a town where everyone has moves like Travolta. Said town shall be thegoneapp.como.
  8. Embarrass (Waupaca County)Teeheehee.
  9. Fence (Florence County)Apparently the town of Fence was named after an American Indian hunting method. As in, they’d build a fence, deer would jump over it and then get impaled. Hmmm. That is a surprisingly graphic backstory for a pretty basic town name.
  10. Gotham (Richland County)Batman would live here if this town was pronounced the way a lot of people think it’s pronounced. But au contraire! The Name actually rhymes with “Loath them.”
  11. Footville (Rock County)I always tell folks I’m from Evansville, but technically, I grew up outside the teeny tiny town of Footville in Rock County. Once, I ran out of gas on the west end of town. I was able to roll my car all the way down to the southeastern end of town, where the community’s only gas station was located. Thank you, Footville, for having a rockstar name and also for being topographically advantageous for those of us who are prone to running on E.
  12. Institute (Door County)I went to a bar here once. It was called Institute Saloon. It was a wonderful time with my friends. That’s it.
  13. Ixonia (Jefferson County)Didyaknow? Ixonia was created when some townfolk decided that they would draw letters out of a hat. These people must have been very good at Scrabble.
  14. King (Waupaca County)King…a town meant for royalty! Although it is not their official slogan, I believe it should!
  15. Luck (Polk County)Fun fact: Singer-songwriter Regina Spektor worked at a butterfly farm in Luck. #MindBlown
  16. Mishicot (Manitowoc County)Mishicot means “hairy leg.” You will find this the most useful piece of knowledge that you will consume in the entire month.
  17. Oconomowoc (Waukesha County)So there are probably hundreds of hard-to-pronounce Native American town names in Wisconsin, but Oconomowoc is one of my favorites because it stumps every single out-of-towner. Other than my bad attitude towards nonnatives, Oconomowoc is also a good name. It comes from Coo-no-mo-wauk (the Potawatomi term meaning “waterfall”).
  18. Pardeeville (Columbia County)Partyyyy peeeeeople. This place is a dream come true. I know I would.
  19. Random Lake (Sheboygan County)I’m unsure of the origins of this one. It could have been a random name. Send me a tweet if you have any information! (@MariahHaberman)
  20. Rural (Waupaca County)Somewhat of a lazy naming job I suspect, but I kinda like it.
  21. Sheboygan (Sheboygan County)I don’t know why, but every time I say Sheboygan out loud, I find myself really laying on the Wisconsin accent: Shah-BOYYYY-geaann. This dramatized pronunciation makes this Wasn-CANNNN girl very happy.
  22. Taycheedah (Fond du Lac County)I am seriously considering naming my first pet cat this. Tay is an abbreviation of Tay.
  23. Tichigan (Racine County)It’s like someone had a few too many brandy old-fashioned sweets and thought it a good idea to give their town a name that sarcastically alludes to our next door neighbor.
  24. Weyauwega (Waupaca County)It’s Native American for “old woman.” Use this information very cautiously please. Let me be more direct: Perhaps don’t use this term in Mom’s next birthday cards? :/
  25. Winnebago (Winnebago County)Another Native American town name, Winnebago translates to “dirty water people.”

There are tons more worth noting! Which one would you like on this list, and why? Share your favorite town names with me on social media.

Mariah Haberman hosts the nation’s longest-running tourism TV show, Discover Wisconsin. She hails from Evansville, where she was brought up in a family of seven in a small farmhouse outside of town. She fondly remembers Lake Michigan fishing trips with her dad, showing sheep at Rock County Fair and riding around on her ATV around the farm with her little brother. Watch Discover Wisconsin Saturdays at 10 a.m. on FSN Wisconsin’s outdoor block. (Twitter: @MariahHaberman

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