Top 10 Most Unusual Town Names

Hell, Michigan


Perhaps of no surprise to many, Hell, Michigan, may owe its name to the founder of a whiskey distillery. To be more specific, the town was founded by a man named George Reeves, who purchased a sawmill on a creek now called Hell Creek, subsequently building a gristmill and distillery, as well as a combined store and tavern. On top of that, he built a sulky racetrack (a lightweight cart pulled by dogs or horses). He was also rumored to have once sunk barrels of whiskey to the bottom of the millpond while under inspection from federal tax collectors. Drinking, gambling and tax evasion!Competing theories exist as to the original source of the name. One is that German travelers were overheard exclaiming, “So schön hell!” (“So beautifully bright!”) while stepping out of a stagecoach on a sunny afternoon. The other is that, when Michigan became a state, Reeves was asked what he thought of the town he’d helped settle, and he declared, “I don’t care. You can name it Hell for all I care.” Another theory is that the early explorers gave it the name because of being plagued by mosquitoes and bogged down in wetlands. Whatever reason is true, whenever it’s below freezing in the small town, there are bound to be plenty of jokes about “Hell freezing over.”