The Baby Name Buff: Places I’ve Lived–Tunkhannock, PA

When my siblings and I were still very young, my family moved from the suburbs of New Jersey to a tiny hamlet in Pennsylvania called Tunkhannock. Nestled in the beautiful Endless Mountains, Tunkhannock is bursting with small-town charm. I lived in Tunkhannock from the time I was three or four until I was twelve, so I have a wealth of positive childhood memories of living there.    

Two of my siblings still live in Tunkhannock, and I am actually visiting them there this weekend as we celebrate my Mom’s 60th birthday that’s coming up on August 5th. (Happy Birthday, Momma!)

Here are a few of my favorite names associated with the Tunkhannock area.  

Beaumont is one of those places I’ve driven past a million times but never actually visited. But I’ve always wanted to see the inside of the quaint Beaumont Inn, so I hope I’ll actually do that someday. Though I’m not a Francophile by any means, I’ve been kind of obsessed lately with all the Beau-related names, including Beaumont (Bow-mont) and Beauregard, in large part because I love the nickname Beau itself. Or, if you don’t like the nickname Beau, Monty is another cute option for Beaumont.  

Growing up in Tunkhannock, my family lived in a residential development called Rivercrest. This community is aptly named, since it is perched atop a hill above the nearby Susquehanna River. Within this development, we lived on Birch Drive, so the unisex name Birch (Burch) is an homage to this homey little lane. Tree names are a staple of new-wave, nature-inspired baby names, with Birch joining a forest of other popular tree names like Cedar, Ash, Oak, and Hawthorne for boys and Laurel, Elowen, and Hazel for girls.

Dixon is so small that it is pretty much considered a part of Tunkhannock rather than a separate location of its own. But one of my favorite (and probably one of the only) features in Dixon is Lazy Brook Park, which features multiple playgrounds, some small hiking trails along a creek, and several pavilions for events. I recall many fun outings where we took some of my nieces and nephews to this park, and I’ve also attended a couple of great baby showers hosted at this park. The other noticeable landmark in Dixon is Deer Park Lumber, right across from Lazy Brook Park. This lumber mill often gives off an appealing aroma of cut or burning wood, a smell that I’ve always been a fan of. Besides these positive associations with Dixon, PA, I really like the boys’ name Dixon (Dick-sin) because it reminds me of Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s crime-solving holodeck alter ego, Dixon Hill, on Start Trek: TNG. I like Sonny as a possible nickname for Dixon, though I guess you could also use Dick as a nickname (you know, if you hate your child).

In my previous blog in this series about my birthplace (in Bergen County, NJ), I discussed some of the good times I had at my Granny and Grampy’s home in Bergenfield. But when my nuclear family moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, Granny and Grampy followed shortly after so they could be closer to us kids. They bought a home in nearby Jenningsville, a place so rural that there are likely more cows than people there. This change was a dream for Grampy, who loved rural places and enjoyed tending his garden, fruit trees, and grape vines at his Jenningsville home. But poor Granny—a suburban Jersey girl through-and-through, was less than thrilled with the move. You’d never know that, though, from the happy, welcoming environment Granny created for us whenever we visited. From sledding in the wintertime to eating Granny’s famous pancakes on a Sunday morning to opening Christmas presents in front of a roaring fire to chilling on the sunporch in the summertime to taking leisurely evening walks down a dirt road, I am filled with joy whenever I think about all the good times I’ve had at the Jenningsville house. The boys’ name Jennings (Jen-ings) is a unique alternative to similar but more popular names like Jensen and Jenner.

When Granny and Grampy lived in Jenningsville, the closest place with a grocery store and a post office was the nearby “town” of Laceyville. I put the word “town” in parentheses because Laceyville has less than 400 residents, so I’m not sure if that even formally qualifies as a town. My Granny is not normally a complainer by any means, but she often loved to gripe about how small Laceyville was. Despite its tiny size, or perhaps because of it, I think Laceyville is actually quite charming. I’ve always really liked the girls’ name Lacey (Lay-see), though it is quite a bit more common than most of the names I love; Lacey has been in the U.S. top 1,000 since 1975, having peaked at #116 in 1984.

When I was about 16, I lived in Lemon with my mom for a hot minute. Since we weren’t there long, I don’t have an abundance of memories of my time there. But I do remember that it was during the time I lived in Lemon that I began watching one of my favorite shows of all time: the angsty, admittedly-trashy teen soap, Dawson’s Creek. I remember hunkering down every Wednesday night to find out what kind of hijinks Dawson, Joey, Pacey, Jen, and their family and friends would get into, and it is a testament to my mom’s love for me that she watched this show with me every week (even though it probably seemed utterly ridiculous to her). Like the tree names discussed above and many other nature-themed names, fruit names are definitely trending more and more each day, including names like Apple, Plum, Kiwi, and (one of my personal favorites) Huckleberry. On a personal note, the girls’ name Lemon (Leh-min) happens to be a favorite of my sister-in-law, Carrie.

The Nicholson Bridge (also known as the Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct) is one of the most well-known landmarks in the Tunkhannock area. This historic bridge turned 100 in 2015, and its classic, multi-arched structure is a sight to behold. Nicholson (Nick-uhl-sin) is a distinguished boys’ name that is especially appropriate for anyone who is a fan of actor Jack Nicholson (so, everyone, since Jack Nicholson is awesome). Nicholson also has ample and terrific nickname options, including Nick, Nico / Niko, Cole, and (my favorite) Colson.

Perhaps a bit of a stretch, but I included the boys’ name Miller (Mill-uhr) on this list to honor the elementary school I attended, Mill City Elementary. Sadly, this school recently closed, since there were not enough kids among the multiple elementary schools in the Tunkhannock area to justify keeping them all open, and Mill City was unfortunately one that did not make the cut. I also chose this name as a nod to the town of Mill City itself and especially to one of my all-time favorite eateries in the area, the Mill City Dairy Bar. As a kid, I loved the Dairy Bar for its ice cream, the coin-operated horse mom let us ride when we went there, and the Qbert arcade machine that used to be there. As an adult, I still love the ice cream, but this small-town establishment surprisingly has some of the best vegetarian food around, with innovative and delicious items that rival some of the best big-city vegetarian creations I’ve tried. (And, as you’ll see as this series on where I’ve lived continues, I’ve lived in many a big city in my time.)

Lake Winola is a lovely lake community just outside of Tunkhannock proper. I’ve always enjoyed driving past Lake Winola on my way to various places (like Mill City and Scranton) so I could see all the beautiful lakeside homes and dream about someday living in a place like that. (Unlikely, but a girl can dream, right?) I have several happy memories of Lake Winola, including going to the annual Lake Winola carnvial and attending the yearly candlelight Christmas Eve mass at our local Catholic Church. I’m not a Catholic / Christian now, but there was always something beautiful and moving about those candlelit holiday services. In particular, there was one Christmas mass when my sister Katie, who was probably about eight at the time, sang a version of “Oh Holy Night” that was simply breathtaking. I’ve sadly never swum in Lake Winola, since it is a private lake community, but maybe someday! I think Winola (Wih-no-luh) could work well for a boy or girl, though I tend to like it slightly better for a girl. Possible nicknames for a girl are Wynn, Winnie, or Nola, and nickname options for a boy include Wynn, Eno, and Ollie.  

Tunkhannock is located in Wyoming County. When I think of Wyoming County as a whole, I am most put in mind of the annual Wyoming County Fair, which I always loved attending as a child. In particular, I remember dancing around to an oldies cover band that played at the fair each year, The Poets. As an adult, I am much less enamored of county fairs, with their sub-par food and over-priced rides. #Jaded. While only a few state names are considered classics (like Georgia and Virginia), Wyoming (Why-oh-ming) fits in well with more modern, trending state names like Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, and Tennessee. I’m a fan of the gender-neutral name Wyoming not only because I lived in Wyoming County but because I’ve always idealized the state of Wyoming in my imagination, in part because of its open land and lack of people, as well as in part because my Grampy always wanted to visit it and never got the chance. I actually did have the opportunity to visit Wyoming a few years back, and it was definitely as awesome as I had hoped (visually and in terms of hiking; Wyoming is less of a fit for me in terms of the people / culture). My only regret is that I didn’t see a moose while I was there!     

Author: thebabynamebuff

Hi, I'm Vickie. I'm a baby name enthusiast, and I'm excited to share and discuss with others the unique baby names I find. Besides talking and writing about baby names all day long, I also enjoy spending time with family, hiking, astronomy, reading (mostly science fiction and dystopias), and all things Star Trek. (Are you noticing a theme?) I currently live in Champaign, IL with my husband, Kyle, and my son, Felix.

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