The website and book Sad Topographies teaches us that our planet is home to some unusually-named places, like Gloomy Lake in Ontario, Divorce Beach in Mexico, New Jersey’s Shades of Death Road (!) and a spot in Washington state known as Point No Point. Plus: the annual World Santa Claus Congress is getting underway in Denmark. Watch for some serious Santa-to-Santa networking.
21 Of The Saddest Places On Earth From Instagram’s sadtopographies (Brilliant Maps)
Shades of Death Road (Weird NJ)
Washington State’s bummer place names, mapped (Curbed Seattle)
Anybody up for a day trip to Gloomy Lake? Shaggy? Scooby? Anyone?
As a map and geography geek, I’m a big fan of the site Brilliant Maps, which posts exactly what its name suggests. And last week Brilliant Maps paid tribute to another wonderful site, Sad Topographies.
Because, as the maps on that site teach us, our planet has places like Gloomy Lake in Ontario, Divorce Beach in Mexico or New Jersey’s Shades of Death Road.
As the Sad Topographies book explains, not all of these names are as unpleasant as they sound. Many of them, in fact, got their names from the experiences of the people who named them.
Mistake Mountain and Wrong Peak got their names because the climbers thought they were standing on other summits
A British navy captain named one spot Dinner Island because he and his crew ate dinner there.
And then there’s the spot in Washington state’s Kitsap County, which Native Americans originally named Hahd-skus, meaning “long nose.”
A white man that was part of a US expedition in the area expected to find the outcropping come to a sharp point, only to find the land at the end of the space to be round and smooth.
And so, he named that point of land Point No Point.
In other words, the stories of how these names came into being, a field called toponymy, can tell you whether a place like Disappointment Island in New Zealand is actually a disappointment.
If places with depressing names aren’t your thing, there’s an event getting underway today at an amusement park in Denmark that might be for you: the annual World Santa Claus Congress. Santas from all over the place get together for parades, boat trips, competitions and some serious Santa-to-Santa networking.