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Which of these weird-named Idaho places is your favorite? From New Sweden to Black Cat Road

Santa, Idaho has a post office that fully leans into the town’s name during the festive period by issuing special stamps. | Darin Oswald
Idaho (Idaho Statesman) — Every state has its fair share of weird and colorful names, from small towns named after founders with less-than-ideal names to roads born out of a mix of urban legend and fact.
Idaho is no different. While many of Idaho’s most memorably named towns have faded from the map and essentially become ghost towns, just as many locations are still frequently used and are near Boise.
The Idaho Statesman has compiled some of the Gem State’s most intriguing, funniest and downright confusing names and attempted to find an explanation for them. Here’s what we’ve got:
Atlanta: When people hear the name Atlanta, their minds will likely wander to the sprawling metropolis of nearly half a million people in Georgia. But the name was once also known as the Idaho home of one of the most prosperous mines on this side of the Rocky Mountains.
Henry G. Langley, writing for the Pacific Coast Business Directory in 1876, described Atlanta on page 816 as 115 miles from Boise City with a mine that had “veins both gold and silver bearing” but acknowledged the transportation of mining materials over treacherous terrain was a “serious obstacle” to the development of the town.
The small town in Elmore County sits in the shadow of the Sawtooth Mountain Range and, according to the town’s Facebook page, was named by Southerners after a supposed Confederate victory in 1864 over Union general William Sherman in Atlanta, Georgia. Although that reasoning was later disproved, the name of Atlanta stuck regardless.
Black Cat Road: Black cats are typically associated with witches and bad luck, but this black cat was simply associated with a dairy farm in Meridian.
According to previous Statesman reporting, Chester and Myrtle Eggers moved to a farm on Post Road in 1921. The couple needed a name for their new farm, and upon seeing a picture of a black cat in the evening newspaper, Chester decided to name the farm “Black Cat Farm.”
Myrtle had a sign of a black cat made and hung it close to the nearby intersection. By the 1950s, the road became synonymous with the sign, so Ada County changed Post Road to Black Cat Road. Over a century later, the sign remains at the intersection of Black Cat and Franklin roads.
Chicken Dinner Road: Located in rural western Canyon County, the origin of Chicken Dinner Road’s name is a little murky. Former Caldwell librarian Elaine Leppert offered the Idaho Statesman a couple of theories, but it all gravitates around one key fact: a chicken dinner prepared by a woman named Laura Lamb.
One theory states that Lamb was friends with then-Gov. C. Ben Ross and invited him over for a chicken dinner in the 1930s in an attempt to get him to repave the potholed road she lived on. Another theory states it was a county commissioner she invited over.
According to Leppert, a third theory is that “chicken dinner” signs were placed along the road to direct Lamb’s guest where to go, and vandals wrote “Lamb’s Chicken Dinner Avenue” on the freshly oiled road in bright yellow lettering.
Dickshooter: Perhaps Idaho’s most-famous bizarre name, the lewd-sounding town in Owyhee County is often included in lists of the most crudely named places in America. The small town recently gained renewed interest when Boise brewery Western Collective named one of its beers Dickshooter.
Owyhee County historian Eriks Garsvo told the Idaho Statesman that there isn’t much history around Dickshooter but said it was named after a man called Mr. Dick Shooter, who settled near the Idaho-Nevada border.
“There was a ‘line shack’ built out of lava rock which was part of the telegraph line to Idaho City,” Garsvo said. “It was also a place where the stagecoach would leave Silver City and head through Dickshooter on its way to Utah. Not even locals here have much information on the place.”
Freeze: The small town of Freeze, spelled as Freese in its early days, was one of the earliest towns in Latah County, according to a 1988 article in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News titled “Ghost Towns of Latah County.”
According to the article, the town was founded by the Freese family, who were traveling from Colorado to Walla Walla, Washington. Several members of the Freese family built a small fort in the area to safely oversee their farms in 1877 as members of the Nez Perce Tribe fought back against and fled the U.S. Army in the latter’s attempt to forcibly remove tribal members from their ancestral lands.
Frozen Dog Road: You can’t have a cat-named road without a dog-named road. Frozen Dog Road in Emmett is another road with a not-so-clear past, but thankfully, it’s probably not named after a frozen dog.
According to previous Statesman reporting, the more widely accepted view begins with a man named William Hunter, who planted orchards in the Emmett area in the late 1800s. Emmett moved to Kansas City and began writing newspaper columns about a fictitious town in Idaho called Frozen Dog. He compiled the columns into a book in 1905 called Frozen Dog Tales and Other Things.
Gem County kept up the chilly theme over the years, adding Freezeout Road and Freezeout Hill to Emmett’s frozen repertoire.
New Sweden: New York, New England, New Hampshire and … New Sweden?
An agricultural community not far west of Idaho Falls in Bonneville County, New Sweden was primarily settled by Swedish and American-Swedish settlers beginning in 1894, according to the city’s Facebook page.
Robber Place and Gunfire Road: Another pair of oddly named Canyon County roads, Robber Place and Gunfire Road, are the kind of cowboy-inspired names you’d expect to come out of the Wild West.
Unfortunately, these roads in Caldwell don’t date as far back as saloon shootouts and great train robberies. In fact, they weren’t even named until the 21st century, according to previous Statesman reporting.
The names come from a small business park that began construction in 2000 and suffered from a robbery and nearby gunfire.
“We had an office there, and we were a construction company,” Jerry Trammel, one of the developers of the business park, told the Statesman in 2010. “A guy came in one day trying to sell us a painting. I said no; I thought he was a flake. That night somebody broke into our office and stole our computer. So we came up with Robber.”
A nearby breakout of violence and gunshots just north of the business park prompted developers to name another nearby street Gunfire Road.
Santa: Santa, Idaho, has fully embraced its shared namesake with Saint Nick, such as a unique Christmas-themed postal stamp from the town’s post office.
Unfortunately, the origin of the small town’s name is much less exciting. Located in Benewah County, Santa is named after Santa Anna Creek, according to Caroline Herritt’s paper, “Bar Hopping as Praxis: The ‘Bovill Run’ as Orality and Folklore.”
Santa Anna Creek was shortened to Santa Creek, according to Herritt, which led to the town’s name of Santa.
The post Which of these weird-named Idaho places is your favorite? From New Sweden to Black Cat Road appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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