Why is the Golden Gate Red? And Other Naming Questions.


It is that time of year to have some fun with naming. While your creative team conscripts are waiting for their probably futile brainstorming session to start, give them these riddles as a warmup exercise:

  • Why is it called the Golden Gate when clearly San Francisco’s famous landmark is red? (*)
  • Why is one of the smallest U.S. states called Rhode Island, when it is not a road and not an island?
  • Why is so much fast food called Junk Food, when it is neither junk nor food?
  • Why do some islands of the Caribbean play cricket as one nation under the West Indies banner when they have never had any real connection to India, or even to American Indians?
  • There are almost no lakes in the Los Angeles area, so why is their basketball team called the L.A. Lakers?
  • If Texas is The Lone Star State, does that make D.C. The No Star State? And Puerto Rico The No Star, No State State?

There must be lots more of these. Please share them with us all.

PS (*)  The sun sets due west of the Golden Gate Bridge, making for spectacular golden hued views as it reflects off the water, clouds, sky and often the fog too. In fact it was known as the Golden Gate before it had a bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin County. This is the only ocean access point for the giant San Francisco Bay and all the water that feeds in from the Sacramento and other rivers.

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Posted in Branding, Name Origins, Naming Education, Naming News, Public Site Naming, Strange Names