On my travels around these United States, I come across some oddly named towns and cities. My recent visit to Arkansas included passing through the small, unincorporated community of Toad Suck, which is often at or near the top of lists of strange, unusual, or unfortunate named places in the country. Needless to say, I had to take a picture of a sign, in this case the “Toad Suck One Stop,” a convenience store/gas station on highway 60, just down the road from the bridge over the Arkansas River.
There is some dispute on how the town got its name, but the story that most folks tell is that idle river men working the steamboats would gather in the local tavern where cheap liquor flowed freely and “suck whiskey until they swelled up like toads.” In one of my previous posts (Condensed County Collecting - Colorado), nmballoonist suggested I visit Toad Suck. Mission accomplished. I recall in the comments on that entry mentioned other strangely named places I've visited, like Gnaw Bone, Indiana and Frog Jump, Tennessee. I have no doubt there will be more to come.
Toad Suck aside, the weekend included stops at 34 county seats in 30 counties. Arkansas is one of those states where some counties have dual county seats (there are 36 counties like this in the USA, 10 of which are in Arkansas). The practice dates back to a time when travel was more difficult, so counties sometimes created two county seats, usually on opposite sides of the county. Because of the added county employment in the county seats, there has been very little interest in eliminating the two-seat arrangement.
In Paris, one of the county seats for Logan County, there was a small downtown park capitalizing on the more famously named Paris. The Eiffel Tower Park sits just across the street from the courthouse, complete with a fountain in the shape of the famous landmark. Perhaps it’s just me, but with the water shooting up the inside of the tower, it looked a bit more like an oil derrick, than the Eiffel Tower.
None of the hotels of this trip were anything out of the ordinary. I visited a FFI, a SHS, and a TPS, each for one night. All were perfect representations of their respective brands.
During the course of the three-day trip, I drove just short of 1,600 miles and visited almost have of Arkansas’s 75 counties. When adding in my previous visits to the state, I’m roughly halfway to completing the state. Here are the before and after maps for comparison.
Unless I plan something before my trip to Nebraska, I don’t anticipate adding any more postcards to my collection until mid-August. I do have other travel planned (Aruba, NYC, and Wales) over the summer. None will entail any county collecting and so will not warrant a blog entry, though I will likely post elsewhere on the site. I’m sure something will come up, so stay tuned.