Surprise! After many months off I’ve written a new post, and I intend to keep writing, although at a slightly slower and more sustainable pace than last winter. I started researching Surprise, Arizona, only to discover that it may have been named after Surprise, Nebraska. Then while mapping Surprise, Nebraska, I found that there’s alsoContinue reading “Surprise”

Olympic Summary

Yesterday I posted the last post, (at least for another four years), in my series on the Fascinating Names of Winter Olympic Host Cities. It was a fun, although sometimes frustrating, exercise, and along the way I learned a bunch, and came across a lot of fascinating names to write about. Did you know thatContinue reading “Olympic Summary”


Chamonix, France, hosted the very first Winter Olympic Games ever. This small town in a valley beside Mont Blanc, and a bunch of other mountains, (and I mean a bunch – the valley is surrounded), was “discovered” by modern tourists in 1741 when a pair of Englishmen showed up there and published their account ofContinue reading “Chamonix”

St. Moritz

St. Moritz, Switzerland, hosted both the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympic Games. The first record we have of the town is around the years 1137-39 as ad sanctum Mauricium. St. Moritz is named for Saint Maurice, (Moritz is a form of Maurice), patron saint of, among other things, armies, armorers, clothmakers, dyers, and he isContinue reading “St. Moritz”

Google, Kansas

Yup, there is now, unofficially, a city called Google in Kansas. Yesterday, Bill Bunten, the mayor of Topeka, Kansas, issued a proclamation calling for the city to be referred to as Google instead of Topeka for the next month. Topeka is trying to get Google’s, (the company), attention as a possible testing ground for Google’sContinue reading “Google, Kansas”


Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, host of the 1936 Winter Olympics, used to be two towns, Garmisch and Partenkirchen. This is probably not a surprise when looking at the name of the city. The two towns were combined by Hitler in 1935 in preparation for the 1936 games and have remained together to this day. We’ll look atContinue reading “Garmisch-Partenkirchen”

Cortina d'Ampezzo

Cortina d’Ampezzo, an Italian city surrounded by the Dolomite mountains, hosted the 1956 Winter Olympic Games. Because of its location, Cortina d’Ampezzo has been part of both Austria and Italy, but since the end of the first world war it has been part of Italy. So, how did Cortina d’Ampezzo come to be called CortinaContinue reading “Cortina d'Ampezzo”

Squaw Valley

The smallest place in the world to ever host the Olympic Games, Squaw Valley is actually a ski resort, not a town, however because the resort is so popular, and it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot else in the area, the whole community is known as Squaw Valley, (the official name is Olympic Valley,Continue reading “Squaw Valley”