A Place Name in All 50 States?

Springfield Missouri sign
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Is there a place name that exists in all 50 U.S. states? It depends on what you count as a city, town, or village—for example, whether a township name counts as a town and whether you'll count county names as well, as they also contain populations. Sources vary widely as to what is the most prolific place name throughout the United States. This piece follows World Atlas's numbers for count and MSN for the largest city with that name.

Washington (88)

Although Springfield is commonly thought of as the most prolific place name in the United States, Washington is the most common, according to World Atlas, with 88 place names. There are even more if you count places where Washington is only a portion of the name.

Springfield (41)

Springfield is in second place, coming in with 41 cities and towns named it, the first being in Massachusetts, naturally, in 1636, after a city in England. It's a long-running debate among fans of the animated TV series "The Simpsons" as to which state the family actually lives in, because Springfields are seemingly everywhere and the TV series makes a point never to specify which state they're in.

Franklin (35)

In third place is Franklin, with 35 cities and towns named after founding father Benjamin Franklin, who was integral in the Declaration of Independence, served as an ambassador to France, and helped establish the U.S. Postal Service. The most populous Franklin city is in Tennessee and has 68,549 residents as of 2017.

Greenville (31)

A lot of city and town founders must have enjoyed the scenery where they put down roots, as the name Greenville is next, with 31 U.S. instances. The name appears coast to coast. One of the first founded was in South Carolina, in 1786.

Bristol (29)

If there are any city names that sound as if it were plucked straight out of Britain, the place name of Bristol has to be at the top of that list. It has 29 cities and towns named after it in the United States, and in Britain, it's historically been a commercial center and important seaport.

Clinton (29)

The first tie on the list comes up here, with the moniker of Clinton also notching 29 instances in the United States. New York state alone has three Clinton place names, the village, town, and county of. The most populous city by that name is in Maryland, with more than 39,000 inhabitants, and the city in Arkansas wasn't named after its governor turned president but after New York governor DeWitt Clinton.

Fairview (27)

Fairview might be popular around the country as a name, but the cities across the United States must be fairly small if the most populous is the one in New Jersey at just over 14,000 residents. Founders of these cities must have liked the scenery around their location and realized that the name Greenville was already taken.

Salem (26)

Of the 26 Salems in the country, the one in Massachusetts is where the infamous 1692 witch trials were. The city in Oregon is the largest, though, coming in at just over 160,000 in population.

Madison (24)

Known for his work on US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, fourth president James Madison has 24 place names sprinkled throughout the United States that carry his surname. The largest city is the capital of Wisconsin, which has 243,122 people living there.

Georgetown (23) 

Being that Washington is tops, it's no surprise that George towns also make this list. The United States has 23 Georgetowns, in fact, though some could have been named for other Georges or even the former king of England. Georgetown, Texas, is the largest city, with a population of 56,102.

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Rosenberg, Matt. "A Place Name in All 50 States?" ThoughtCo, Oct. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/place-name-in-all-fifty-states-1435154. Rosenberg, Matt. (2020, October 29). A Place Name in All 50 States? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/place-name-in-all-fifty-states-1435154 Rosenberg, Matt. "A Place Name in All 50 States?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/place-name-in-all-fifty-states-1435154 (accessed May 30, 2023).