Jim Marion Etter has collected oral and factual histories of 100 place names in Oklahoma for the New Forums Oklahoma Centennial series, which is part of the of Oklahoma statehood centennial celebrations.
Etter starts with the oldest known place name - Spiro Mounds, which date back to 950 A.D. - to the newest - Nowhere, Oklahoma, dated to be 1976. Many colorful, unusual, and fascinating place names are presented between those two - names of towns, hills, canyons, cities, trails, haunted places, and other locales, alond with black and white photos of each. Dona’s Crossing, Bowlegs, Slapout, Starvation Creek, Spook Light Road, Tamaha, Wizzbang, Dogtown, Loco and Cutthroat Gap are actual places in Oklahoma, a mixture of American Indian place names and monikers given by the settlers who followed them when Oklahoma and Indian Territories were open to settlement.
If someone in Oklahoma asks if you want to go to St. Louis, better make sure which one it is; there is also a St. Louis, Oklahoma. Gotebo, Oklahoma exists too - no joke. Some place names may sound like jokes (and some places might have started out as jokes), but they are real places and many Oklahomans are proud of them. One is Sacred Heart Mission, where the reviewer’s monastic community started in 1876, where mystery author Tony Hillerman was born, and the site of the first college in Oklahoma.
The cover of the book features some color photos of place names included in the book as well as the Oklahoma Centennial logo, and an index is also included. This book is highly recommended to those curious about Oklahoma place names.
Jim Marion Etter is a retired newspaper reporter and a longtime writer of history and folklore. He is the author of Thunder in the Heartland: Parables from Oklahoma (2000), Between Me & You & the Gatepost (1999), The Grains of Time (1998), Ghost Town Tales of Oklahoma (1996), Oktaha, a Track in the Sand (1982) and many articles for newspapers like The Daily Oklahoman.