Whynot, North Carolina Was Named Out of Sheer Boredom

Some towns get unusual names through marketing strategies, misplaced enthusiasm, or even as the result of bad spelling. Whynot, North Carolina, on the other hand, got its name out of sheer boredom. The tiny town of 6,800 people is located in the Piedmont Triad region of north-central North Carolina, about 80 miles east of Charlotte. Even though it was once identified as the exact population center of the Tar Heel State, it’s a small rural community that looks today pretty much the way it did 150 years ago, give or take a few cars and power lines. Apart from its eye-catching name on the road atlas, it probably gets most of its visitors today because it sits on the “Pottery Road Scenic Byway,” America’s largest community of ceramic artisans. Whynot was founded in 1860 and a town meeting was held to pick a name for the new community. Unfortunately, residents wouldn’t stop suggesting names. Why not name it this? Why not name it that? Finally, after hours of suggestions, one fed-up farmer said, “Let’s name it Whynot and go home!” The bored citizenry quickly agreed, and they’ve had to explain the town’s name ever since.