Wyoming’s Strangest Town Names Have Intriguing Origins
Ever drive through a Wyoming town and wonder, "How the HECK did they get that name for this place?"
Let's take a look at a few of those weird names and how they came to be.
Don't feel bad about getting that one wrong. The people of this town are saying the name wrong intentionally. They had applied for town status and so a senator from Utah showed up to help them file the paperwork. He hated the name they picked for the town so he named it after himself. His last name is French and is pronounced DU-BU-WAH! To get him back for this the people of the town, to this day, mispronounce it. They say DU-BOYS.
Each time someone says it they feel the urge to throw in even more "M's" or "ER's." I just ad in several more each time I say it so people can see my frustration. It is actually pronounced KEM-ER-ER. The name comes from the vice president of a coal company who founded the town.
The video, below, has a few facts about Kemmerer. Home of the first JC Penny store.
This place is in Sweetwater County. Even after hearing locals pronounce it I can't get this one right. BARE-OIL is as close as you will get. But, yeah, the name has to do with OIL! The founder of Bairoil, Charles M. Bair, settled the area first as a sheep farmer. He was the first to drill oil in the area in 1916 and the town got its name from his Bair Oil Company.
Do they mean CLAIR-MONT or CLEAR-MONT? The "Mont" part is easy. It's just a matter of how they want to emphasize the first part. It is actually CLEAR-MONT! As a helpful caller from the town pointed out to us, it's easy to remember with Clear Creek so nearby. Clearmont comes from Clear Creek which flows nearby and the view of the Bighorn Mountains in the distance.
Here again, is the problem of where you put the emphases. Too much "U" or "E" and you've got it wrong. It's pronounced GURN-ZEE! The town was named for C. A. Guernsey, a cattle rancher.
Not WHO-LET or HULL-ET. Think of the name HUE then ad a LET at the end. Named for the family that first settled there.
Yeah like the ZZ Top Song. But they did not mean La Grange Wyoming. Not a hard "A" on this one but a soft "A." Just imagine there is not an "E" and the end of the name. LA GR-au-NG. The town is named after Mr. Kale LaGrange, who settled in the area.
To see this properly we have to spread it out a lot. ME-TEE-T-SEE. The name is said to derive from an Indian phrase meaning “meeting place.” But another story says Meeteetse, literally translated, means “measured distance near and far.”
A lot of people see "WARM" in there. But there is no letter "R" in it. WAM-SUT-TER. Originally, the town was known as Washakie. Confusion with nearby Fort Washakie prompted an 1884 name change to Wamsutter, after a Union Pacific bridge engineer.
Named for Jesse Yoder, the man who headed the Goshen Townsite Development Company. Pronounced YO! - Der!