15 unique town names in Iowa Sep 15, 2020 Sep 15, 2020 Updated Oct 12, 2020 Facebook Twitter WhatsApp SMS Email Print Save Here are 15 places in Iowa that would make you do a double take if you saw them named on a highway sign. 15 unique town names in Iowa Agency, Iowa Initially know as Agency City, the town was established in 1843 as an Indian agency. The Indian agency was used from 1843 until 1845, when the Indians were moved to Kansas. A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Carbon, Iowa The settlement was first called Walter’s Mill, after Elijah Walter, who built the sawmill in 1849. When coal was found in the area in 1870, the village grew quickly and was renamed Carbon because of the coal deposits. It was established in 1873. A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Correctionville, Iowa Correctionville boasts the longest single-word name of any Iowa city. The city gets its name from a surveying practice of making correction lines. To quote the city's website: "Surveyors, in making land divisions, used correction lines. Since the world is round, every land division from North to South cannot be the same size because the earth curves toward the top. To allow for this, East/West correction lines were established; adjustments were made along those lines to make all land parcels nearly equal in size." Since the city's central East/West street, Fifth Street, was laid along such a correction line, the city was named after the practice. Because Correctionville's North/South streets follow the adjustments of the correction line, they all have a jaunty little jog at Fifth Street. Lee News Network Defiance, Iowa It was established by the Milwaukee Land Company in 1820 and named Marmon. The town’s name was reportedly changed because the townspeople, "mainly settlers who had relocated from a settlement called Willow Creek, were unhappy that the railroad had not laid track by that community. The people called themselves 'defiers' and the town Defiance." A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Diagonal, Iowa Diagonal was established in 1881 as a rail depot. The name comes from the fact that "the depot was a central station on a rail line that was called the Diagonal. That name came from the proposed path of the rail line across the state, from Northeast Iowa to Southeast Iowa into Nebraska." A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Doon, Iowa It was founded in 1889 and "named by H.D. Rice for the 'Bonnie Doon' in Robert Burns’ poem 'Ye Banks and Braes o’ Bonnie Doon.' " A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Fertile, Iowa The location was once known as Rhodes Mills for the original settler. Before Fertile was created, "a land speculator created a fictional town very close to the site, that was named Fontanelle. Fertile was named for the quality of soil in the valley where the town was located." It was established in 1877. A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Elkader, Iowa While there are many cities in Iowa named after people, there's only one named after an Algerian resistance leader. Elkader, Iowa, is named after Abdelkader El Djezairi. Abdelkader fought against the French colonial invasion of Algeria from the 1830s until his surrender in 1847, one year after Elkader was officially platted. Lee News Network Hawkeye, Iowa Since Iowa is the Hawkeye state, it is reasonable to assume that the town was named with that in mind. "The origin of the nickname is murky. It either could be from the 1826 novel 'The Last of the Mohicans' or for the name noted by Sac Chief Black Hawk." It was established in 1879 by Charles Packwood. A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Ionia, Iowa It was founded as Dover, but then there was some confusion with the town Devan, so the name was changed to Chickasaw Station. Then there was confusion between the town of Chickasaw and Chickasaw Station, so the name was changed to Ionia. There is "no definitive information about the naming of the town. Local folk tale about the naming goes like this: Around 1883 the railroad, which came through Chickasaw Station but not Chickasaw, said the town needed a unique name. A railroad man came through the town to talk to business owners about a new name, and one of them said to him, “I don’t care what you call it, I own the lumberyard, I own that land, I own that building.” And thus the railroad man declared, 'We’ll call it Ionia!' " A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Jamaica, Iowa It was first known as Sedalin, but the town was registered as Van Ness in 1882 by the Milwaukee Land Company. Reportedly, "there was another town called Van Ness, and therefore another name needed to be chosen. The local story is the people of the two could not agree on a new name, so the mayor, wearing a blindfold, faced a map and placed his finger on the West Indies, specifically Jamaica." A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Lost Nation, Iowa The area that would become Lost Nation was known by that name as early as 1855, a little less than two decades before the city was founded. There are a number of legends about the origin of the name, mostly involving quests for lost people or items. One version, not widely credited, is that "a tribe of Indians starved and froze to death in the area in earlier times. Another more popular opinion is a man named Balm was looking for some relatives living in the area, and when he was asked where he was going, he said that he was looking for the 'lost nation.' " A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Spillville, Iowa Founded in 1860 by Joseph Spielman. The town was named for Spielman, but only the first syllable was used and then the spelling was changed. A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage Tingley, Iowa It was named for either Tingley Crownwell, a local settler, or for the railroad surveyor who laid out the town, Mayor Richard Tingley. It was founded in 1881. A Dictionary of Iowa Places, Tom Salvage What Cheer, Iowa Was originally called Petersburgh, for Peter Britton, who established the town in 1865. "When the town applied for a post office, the postal department rejected the name Petersburgh. Major Joseph Andrews, a local politician, succeeded in getting the town’s name changed to What Cheer in 1879. The name probably stems from the old English greeting or expression of happiness brought from England to New England and then on to Iowa. Reportedly, the term was used by a Scotch miner when he discovered a seam of coal near the town." 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