Not all of America's small towns have names like Bedford Falls. It's a veritable mishmash of funny town names out there, including more than a few guaranteed to get a giggle out of kids (Exhibit A: Butzville, N.J.). There is also an inordinate number of towns called Hell. In some places, it's hard to tell you've even arrived: Signs with funny town names go missing as fast as highway officials put them up. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Bugtussle, Tenn.
Some say it was from Bugtussle, Tenn., that the Beverly Hillbillies loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly (Hills, that is). Or was it Bugscuffle? Of course, in a state with such funny town names as Blue Goose, Bucksnort, Nantipoo, Soddy Daisy and Sweet Lips, any number of sleepy hamlets could have spawned the fictional Clampetts. Wherever their origins, the Clampetts would have been right at home in these rural surrounds, about a mile from sister burg Bugtussle, Ky.
2. Looneyville, Texas
American presidents mostly hail from towns with solid, corn-fed names like Hope and Plains. But who knows? Someday, there might rise a leader proud to have been born and bred in Looneyville. Who wouldn't stand in line to buy a presidential biography along the lines of Bob Smith: Man from Looneyville? The community, once a burgeoning lumber town, was actually named after storekeeper John Looney in the 1870s. Today the sawmills are gone — and with them, most Looneyvilleans.
3. Santa Claus, Ind.
If you wonder what the town fathers were thinking when, in 1856, they changed the town name from "Santa Fe" to "Santa Claus," all becomes clear when you arrive in America's "Christmas Hometown," which celebrates both the heartwarming and commercial aspects of the holiday 365 days a year. Latter-day officials have even given streets jingle-bell names like Holiday Boulevard and Dasher Lane. Add the Santa Claus Museum, Frosty's Fun Center, and Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort to the mix and voila — a place where holiday decorations are never relegated to mothballed attics.
4. Tightwad, Mo.
Some 64 people live in Tightwad, a penny-pinching lot, one might surmise. Who, after all, would want to be known as the big spender of Tightwad, Mo.? Legend has it that, about 1900, a store transaction involving a watermelon (or maybe a chicken?) left a local postman feeling shortchanged. The humiliation was such that the customer forever branded the town's good citizens as Tightwadians. Money remains an obsession: A local success is the Tightwad Bank, which sells branded polo shirts, hats and coffee mugs.