1. Built on Hope

    If you are in the New World, you may know of towns with “hope” in their names. Maybe you live in one. But why did they get such names and how common are they elsewhere? Let’s find out.

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    Built on Hope

    What’s behind a town’s name?

    Sometimes the reason for naming a town is obvious. Other times, the reason is well hidden behind centuries of events, language, and cultural changes. But some towns in the world are possibly named for the same reason. These are the "hope towns".

    Once upon a time of rapid expansion and resettlement in the U.S., many families ventured to the Western wilderness in search of a better life. (There was a time in America’s history when this wilderness was just a hundred miles or so west of the Atlantic Ocean coastline.) Their journey was long and very difficult. Each step was fraught with danger.

    What drove them to leave everything behind and take such perilous risks? That force is a distinctly human quality called hope.

    After many weeks and months of grueling travel and great hardship, these intrepid pioneers arrived somewhere like a river with fertile land and a diversity of colors. There they settled and named their community "Hope" or some variation.

    Perhaps they were the founders of your city. And maybe you can tell us amazing and exciting stories about their adventures and discoveries. Imagine yourself in their shoes and try to feel the fears and hope that they experienced. Imagine yourself a pioneer in a new land.

    Remember though, that toponymy* likes to play tricks.

    Maybe your town was founded by a gentleman whose wife was named Hope. Then the story behind your town’s name would not be so epic, but it would be about love. Let’s find out!

    *Toponymy is the field of science that studies the names of places.

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