A photo of the star-shaped sign welcoming visitors to Eclectic, Alabama
The welcome sign in Eclectic, Alabama. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Now that the Olympics are over, we’ll be going back to some more random names, starting with Eclectic, Alabama.

Eclectic is a small town of just over 1000 people in Elmore County, Alabama. The post office was opened there in 1879 and the town was incorporated in 1907.

So, how did it get its name? According to Wikipedia, there are two theories. The first is that it was named by a local who had taken an “eclectic” course of study at school and apparently named the town after the various surrounding geographic areas, (which I’m guessing are eclectic). The second is that the name was supposed to be “Electric” but somebody messed up somewhere, or the name was otherwise corrupted to Eclectic. In the late 1800s the town appeared on some maps as Electric.. However, since the post office was established in 1879, it may be that “Electric” is the mistake and “Eclectic” is the real name. Who knows.

Edit:It turns out that David knows, and the whole “Electric” thing is a big mistake. See his comment below for clarification, and more about where the name “Eclectic” actually came from.

In the meantime, enjoy a video of some mudbogging in Eclectic:


  1. Hello from Eclectic. You got most of the points right, though I must quibble with your recitation of “electric.” That’s an oft-made mistake, but “Eclectic” is and always has been the town’s name. It was given by the first major landowner, who donated a few acres of property to anyone who’d settle down. He was a Civil War-era surgeon who attended the Cincinnati School of Eclectic Medicine. Others will mistakenly call the town “epileptic.”
    The Mudd Bogg (as it’s officially called) is a fairly new development, begun by a truck-loving local with a lot of swampy land, entrepreneurial spirit, and a penchant for flying slop. It’ll draw close to a thousand on a bright sunny day (first Saturday of each month).
    We’re also close to Lake Martin, which in the 40s was the largest man-made lake in the world. It boast a few thousand miles of beautiful lake front, and is great for waterskiing, fishing and boating. Hank Williams Sr. wrote the song “Kawliga” from a cabin on Lake Martin, in the community now spelled Kowaliga.
    We’re about 40 minutes from the state capital of Montgomery. Eclectic also has a rich history of high school football, through the Elmore County High Panthers.
    If you’re interested in other amusing place names, the community of Slapout is but a short drive away.

  2. Hi David. I’ve updated the post so that the correct information about the Electric/non-Electric thing is there, and thanks for the extra details about how Eclectic got its name. It was actually surprisingly difficult to research – the only entry I found anywhere was on Wikipedia.

    I actually posted about Slapout a while ago. There’s both Slapout, AL, near you, and Slapout, OK, and, at least from what I could find, they both got their name the same way, (either that, or some people were confused).

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