By Rosie Moore

When I was young we moved many times because the rent was always going up. We lived in towns with picturesque  names like Paradise, New Holland and Lititiz. But we also lived in towns that had names that sounded questionable–to say the least, such as Intercourse, Bird-In-Hand and Blue Ball. Where did these towns get their nonsensical names?

Intercourse was originally named Cross Roads but in 1814 the name was changed to Intercourse simply because two famous roads crossed there. The Old King’s Highway from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh ran east and west through the center of town. The road from Wilmington to Erie intersected in the middle and the joining of these two roads is the basis for the name Intercourse.

Blue Ball was originally named after the Blue Ball Hotel which was built more than 200 years ago in the early 1800th century. John Wallace built a small building at the intersection of two Indian trails. He hung a blue ball outside on a post and called it “The Sign of the Blue Ball.” Locals soon began calling the town Blue Ball.

Bird-In-Hand is a village in the heart of the Amish country, approximately seven miles east of Lancaster. Another place that probably received its name from the sign of an 18th century inn. Early inns often took their names from an image they could paint on their sign that would be recognized in any language such as a white horse or a hand holding a bird. Later, the communities that grew around these inns often took on the name of their local inn. It is surrounded by Amish farms and many restaurants.

White Horse is also another quaint village in the area. It was interesting to me to see how many towns were named after hotels.

This is probably of not much interest to my southern readers but it caught my eye when I read an article concerning this subject in the Lancaster New Era newspaper, which I read every day on my PC. Perhaps in the near future I will check out how Knoxville got its name. Keep reading!

Thought for the day: A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.   Chinese proverb

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