These Are the Most Common Town Names in America

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These Are the Most Common Town Names in America
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When it comes to naming towns, Americans aren’t always the most original. Sure, some places are entirely unique. For example, the U.S. only has one Abanda, Nubieber, and Zwingle (those are in Alabama, California, Iowa, respectively). But on the other hand, there are also 676 locales that have “Washington” in their name. You might as well call us the Unoriginal States of America.

To find out just how monotonous America can be, we dove deep into the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey to compile a list of the names of the 29,324 municipalities, boroughs, villages, towns, cities, and Census-designated places (CDPs) in the country to see which occurred the most frequently. Because we’re purists, we excluded those that had qualifiers in their names (for example, when looking at towns named “Franklin,” we did not count “New Franklin,” “East Franklin,” and “Franklinville”). And for those town names that tied, we ranked them in alphabetical order.

24
Waverly

waverly, nebraska, most common town names Flickr/Ale_Speciale

Number of towns with this name: 18

Many of the 18 places in the United States called Waverly are named after Sir Walter Scott’s 1814 novel, Waverley. Not only is Waverly, Nebraska (as seen in the photo here), named after the novel, but many of the city’s street names were also taken from characters within it.

23
Riverside

riverside california, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 18

Riverside is of course a self-explanatory ode to the location in which most of these 18 cities are located. For example, Riverside, Missouri, lies on the edge of the Missouri River; Riverside, Iowa, is situated along the English River; and one of California’s most populous cities, Riverside (as seen in the photo here), lies on the Santa Ana River.

22
Oakland

Oakland, happiest cities, fittest cities, healthiest cities, flip a house, longest commutes, commute, rent, property, best drinking water, best sports fans

Number of towns with this name: 18

The origin of Oakland is similar to that of Riverside’s. Most Oakland towns were named after the abundance of oak trees in those areas. Claimed by Spanish explorers in 1722, Oakland, California (as seen in the photo here), was first referred to as “encinal” (a Spanish word meaning “oak grove area”) due to the area’s woodland of oak trees. Eventually, the area was taken over by English settlers who transitioned the name into Oakland.

21
Kingston

kingston massachusetts Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 18

With King being a common surname during the era that many of these towns were founded in, most Kingston’s were named after early settlers or founders—like Kingston, Mississippi, which was named for early settler Caleb King. However, some of the towns were actually named Kingston for English kings. Kingston, New Hampshire, was named for King William III, who chartered the town, and Kingston, Massachusetts (as seen in the photo here), was named in honor of King George II.

20
Dayton

Riverscape Park in Dayton, Ohio in autumn Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 18

A majority of the 18 Dayton towns in the United States took their name from the most populous one—Dayton, Ohio (as seen in the photo here). The city is named after Jonathan Dayton, an American Revolutionary War captain. Dayton, Kentucky, was named after the Ohio town in 1867 when two cities, Jamestown and Brooklyn, reincorporated as one. The Dayton community in Illinois was also named so because a large portion of the area’s early settlers were natives of Dayton, Ohio.

19
Washington

Row houses of Mount Vernon Square in Washington DC. Colorful residential townhouses in the afternoon sun. Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 19

It’s no shock that many towns are named after our country’s first president, George Washington. Currently, there are 19 places in the United States named in honor of the founding father (which doesn’t include the state of Washington itself).

Washington is such a prevalent name in the United States that some towns called Washington have begun adopting nicknames to differentiate themselves. For example, Washington, Georgia, is referred to as Washington-Wilkes in honor of its county, while Washington, Virginia, is nicknamed “Little Washington” to avoid confusion with Washington, D.C. (as seen in the photo here).

18
Oxford

oxford connecticut, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 19

Most of the 19 United States towns named Oxford, including Oxford, Missouri, and Oxford, Connecticut (as seen in the photo here), took their name from the city of Oxford in England. Oxford is most notable for Oxford University—one of the oldest universities in the world. In fact, Oxford, Mississippi, deliberately named itself after the institution because its founders intended to promote the area as a center of learning.

17
Milford

milford new hampshire, most common town names

Flickr/Doug Kerr

Number of towns with this name: 19

Most places named Milford originated as mill towns. The name refers to “mill on the ford”—a ford being a shallow in a river or stream that one can walk or drive over. When many towns, like Milford, New Hampshire (as seen here) and Milford, Massachusetts, were formed, they were created around mill fords. And because of how many towns were settled in the United States to revolve around their mills, it’s not surprising that this name landed on our list.

16
Chester

Chester pennsylvania skyline, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 19

Most towns named Chester, like Chester, Pennsylvania (as seen here), are named for from the walled city of Chester in Cheshire, England, which has been around since ancient Rome.

When it comes to Chester, Nebraska, however, the name is meant to honor former President Chester A. Arthur.

15
Burlington

Burlington, Vermont, USA cityscape at Church Street Marketplace Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 19

While there are 19 Burlingtons in the United States, no one’s quite sure how this name got so popular. One theory suggests that most of the towns are named after Bridlington, East Yorkshire, in England—which is pronounced “Burlington” by locals.

However, there are different ideas about how Burlington, Vermont (as seen here), got its name. Some say it was named after Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, while others claim it was named after the wealthy Burling family of New York.

14
Ashland

Ashland virginia train station, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 19

Many of the 19 Ashland towns—like Ashland, Virginia, in the photo here—lifted their names from statesman Henry Clay, who had an estate in Kentucky named Ashland. However, Ashland, California, is named after a tree—the Oregon ash tree.

13
Springfield

Springfield, drunkest cities Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 20

Many people believe Springfield is the most common name in the United States—after all, even the Simpsons live there. However, with just 20 places named Springfield, it doesn’t reign supreme.

The first place in the United States named Springfield was a Massachusetts town (as seen here) in 1636. Founded by William Pynchon, the colonist named the town after his hometown in England: Springfield, Essex.

12
Milton

milton vermont, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 20

Unsurprisingly, many of the towns named Milton were mill towns, as opposed to mill fords.

But a few Miltons were also named after people. Both Milton, Delaware, and Milton, Vermont (pictured here), are named after Paradise Lost poet John Milton.

11
Manchester

bridge in manchester new hampshire, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 20

Many stateside Manchesters took their name from Manchester, New Hampshire (as seen here), which got its name from Manchester, England. The British city was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution.

In 1807, Samuel Blodget opened a canal system in the New Hampshire area with the hope that the town would become “the Manchester of America.” Eventually, the area adopted the English town’s moniker as its own, catalyzing the name Manchester in the United States.

10
Clayton

town with clay, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 20

This town name came from the Old English words “claeg,” meaning clay, and “tun,” meaning settlement. Keeping true to its etymology, Clayton, Kansas (as seen here), was named for the prevalence of clay in the area.

9
Georgetown

georgetown kentucky, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 21

America’s Georgetowns were named after a range of people. For instance, Georgetown, Kentucky (pictured here), was named to honor the nation’s first president, while Georgetown, Idaho, was named after George Q. Cannon, a prominent figure in the Mormon community.

8
Arlington

arlington national cemetery and arlington house, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 21

This name became popular nationwide after the founding of Arlington National Cemetery (as seen here) in Arlington County, Virginia, in 1864.

And that, in turn, was named after the estate grounds it was established on, which were first owned by George Washington Parke Custis, great-grandson of George Washington. Custis named the property after the village of Arlington in Gloucestershire, England, where his family was originally from.

7
Salem

lighthouse in salem massachusetts, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 22

There are 22 places named Salem in the United States. The most notable of these being Salem, Massachusetts (as seen here)—made famous by the Salem Witch Trials. Massachusetts’ Salem originally derived its name from the Hebrew word “shalem,” meaning “peace.” A little ironic now, isn’t it?

6
Marion

marion alabama swamp landscape, most common town names Flickr/Nikky

Number of towns with this name: 23

Many towns are named Marion to honor American Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, like Marion, Alabama, in the photo here.

5
Madison

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Number of towns with this name: 23

Another founding father and the fourth president of the United States, James Madison has been honored in many places throughout the nation. The capital of Wisconsin (as seen here) is even named after the former president—with the streets of the city also named for the other 39 people who signed the U.S. Constitution.

4
Greenville

fattest cities Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 23

The United States currently has 23 places named Greenville—and yet the origin of this name is not so straightforward. For example, some say Greenville, South Carolina (as seen here), was named for its green appearance, while others say it was named after American Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene.

3
Clinton

clinton massachusetts, most common town names Shutterstock

Number of towns with this name: 27

Clinton is a common English surname that’s shared among many notable figures, such as former President Bill Clinton, former New York governor DeWitt Clinton, and American Revolutionary War general James Clinton.

With 27 places in the United States currently named Clinton, each one’s origin is as unique as the next. Incorporated in 1850, Clinton, Massachusetts (as seen here), was named after the DeWitt Clinton Hotel in New York, which was one of the town’s founders favorite places.

2
Fairview

sunset in fairview kanas, most common town names Wikimedia Commons/Xiphos

Number of towns with this name: 28

Although it’s the second most common town name in the country, the origin of the name Fairview isn’t so clear. Unsurprisingly, the most widely accepted theory is that these towns simply boast fair views. For example, Fairview, Kansas (as seen here), was named for its “fine outlook” in 1872, while Fairview, Utah, was named because it “commands an excellent view of the great granary,” according to its website. Sounds fair to us!

1
Franklin

franklin statue in massachusetts Kali Coleman | Best Life

Number of towns with this name: 30

It’s no surprise that the most common town name in America is derived from the name of one of our founding fathers. Franklin, Massachusetts, was the first place to be named after Benjamin Franklin (who’s honored in the Massachusetts statue seen here). Founded by European settlers in 1660, the town’s citizens decided to honor the statesman in 1778 by naming the newly incorporated town after him. With 30 places in the United States now named Franklin, this founding father definitely made his mark. And to learn more about the 50 states, check out The Most Hard-to-Believe Fact About Every State.

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