6 Wacky & Unbelievable Places in Washington and Oregon That Actually Exist
Washington and Oregon are famous for unique names of towns and places - most of them have deep Native American history and meaning to them. Other place names in these two states are darn right wacky, funny, and unbelievable. This is a shortlist of towns and places and their strange and funny histories.
The town of Halfway, Oregon (a.k.a. Half.com - more on that later) has been around since the 1800s and got its name because it is located approximately at the halfway point between Pine, Oregon and Cornucopia, Oregon, it's also near the 45th parallel - the halfway point between the North Pole and the Equator.
The Hells Canyon Scenic Byway and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area are nearby, so there's plenty of things to do in the Halfway area - camping, fishing, hiking, jet-boating, and river rafting. The population of Halfway is about 300 folks - it was half that about 15 years ago - ha!
Some interesting Halfway history, in the late1990s during the dot-com explosion the town was renamed "Half.com" as a PR stunt for the e-commerce site with the same name. And, at the time it made sense because the town was struggling financially. Half.com (now out of business) paid the town over $100,000 to keep the name for one year. Thus, Halfway became the first city on Earth to be named a dot com. So, next time you're in the Halfway area, stop in for some coffee with half-n-half at the local Hafé
Yes, there is really a place in Oregon called Idiotville. It's a ghost town now, located in Tillamook County next to the mouth of Idiot Creek. Idiot Creek was officially named after Idiotville in 1977. A little over a half-mile up the creek was a (now completely empty) logging area called Ryan's Camp. Ryan's Camp was so far up the creek that it was often said, "only an idiot would work up there", and the name Idiotville was born. There are various other reasons why it was called Idiotville - some loggers decided to continue to work in the area during a giant fire and were called idiots for not evacuating.
Idiotville is in the Tillamook State Forest on State Route 6 a little over 50 miles west of Portland. It's still accessible.
Tom, Dick & Harry Mountain, Oregon
Do I dare begin by saying, every Tom, Dick, and Harry would enjoy the views and hike around this three-peak mountain? Well, they would! It's actually a foothill located a little over 7 miles to the northwest of Mount Hood. The name Tom, Dick, and Harry has been in use since the late 1800s and officially made it on the Geographic Names list in 1969.
You can hike a 9-mile trail to Tom, Dick, and Harry during certain times of the year - heads up; the trail is busy during peak hiking season because every Tom, Dick, and Harry is on it.
You can't smell it, but yes, there really is/was a place known as Bacon in Washington. Bacon is located about 7 miles south of Coulee City in Grant County. The area has been known as Bacon since the early 1900s when a group of railroaders built it as a joke because of its proximity to Coffeepot Lake. What does coffee go good with? Bacon! Well, as expected, the area never took off. However, there was a post office called Bacon that operated in the area from 1911 until about 1916. Bacon is now vacant land - no grease, no strips, just extra crispy land with a number of old structures. Bacon's sister-city, "Eggs", never materialized.
Big Bottom, Washington
I like Big Bottom and I cannot lie! Big Bottom is located in Randle, Washington just to the northeast of Packwood off highway 12. The name Big Bottom comes from the area known as Big Bottom Valley, which is big, flat, fertile, and wide - "Big Bottom". Yes, sorry to disappoint you, butt, the name has nothing to do with someone with a big bottom. There is, however, a Big Bottom Bar Saloon where you can rest your bottom and sip an ice-cold beer and down a Big Bottom burger and fries.
Useless Bay, Washington
Useless Bay is located in the Puget Sound on Whidbey Island and was so named because of its stormy weather and shallow sandy bottom (no relation to Big Bottom), which stranded ships. So, Mariners at the time (1792 - Capt. Vancouver) called it "Useless" and avoided it. There's even a book about Useless Bay, so you could say there is some use after all.
Here are more strange town names and the amazing history behind them - keep reading! [Photo of Halfway, Oregon by Finetooth, WIKIMEDIA COMMONS // CC BY-SA 3.0]
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