It’s all in the names

From top, Bearskin Neck in Rockport; boaters on  Long Sought For Pond in Westford, and Norman’s Woe, just off the Gloucester coast.
From top, Bearskin Neck in Rockport; boaters on Long Sought For Pond in Westford, and Norman’s Woe, just off the Gloucester coast.Credit:

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Not many people know that Rockport and Gloucester were once called Tragabigzanda. Or that Salem was Sholom Naumkeag, Winchester was called Black Horse Village, and part of Wilmington was dubbed Land of Nod.

No one uses those terms any more, of course. But a closer look at Massachusetts maps reveals plenty of places with unusual names that have survived over time. In the suburbs north of Boston you’ll find Blubber Hollow in Salem, Bearskin Neck in Rockport, Dragon Corner in Reading, and Happy Valley in Lynn. There are intriguing brooks and streams, such as Labor in Vain Creek in Ipswich, and curiously titled watering holes, like Long Sought For Pond in Westford.

Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office maintains a lengthy list of names of neighborhoods and villages in Massachusetts. Some names are still used today. Others are long forgotten.

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