As a teen, I lived in Susquehanna County, slightly north of my previous home in Tunkhannock. The two main towns I lived in were Springville and Lawton, both of which are very rural places. Here are a few of my favorite names inspired by this county.
Probably my favorite name on this list, the township of Auburn is a beautiful country locale with a population of less than 2,000 people. Not only do I love the sound of the gender-neutral name Auburn (Awe-burn), but the color auburn puts me in mind of the changing leaves during my favorite season—fall! Auburn is a unique alternative to more well-known names like Autumn and Arbor.
Dimock is the location of the middle school and high school I attended—Elk Lake. The name Dimock (Dim-ick) is a succinct and sophisticated boys’ name, and Mick or Mickey would be adorable nickname options.
Gibson is one of those nearby townships that I drove past a lot but which I never visited or had a personal tie to. That said, the boys’ name Gibson (Gib-sin) would be a fun choice for musicians, both because of Gibson guitars and singer Debbie Gibson. Gibson is also a fresh addition to today’s innumerable popular boys’ names ending in –son. Gibson has been at the outer edges of the U.S. top 1,000 since 2010, hovering between 850 and 1,000 during that time period.
My Dad lived in Hallstead briefly, but I was young enough that I don’t remember this location too well. As a boys’ name, Hallstead (Hall-sted) somehow has both a preppy and a hipster feel, and it is a unique alternative to other surname-based baby names that start with the –hall sound, like Holland or Hollister.
I am not actually familiar at all with the location Hickory Grove, but it is somewhere in Susquehanna County, which allows me to include the name Hickory (Hick-uh-ree) on this list. I’m a sucker for just about any baby name inspired by a tree. And I love Huck or Cory / Kory as possible nicknames.
I lived in Lawton with my Mom for two years, from the time I was 16 to 18 years old. This time period was probably one of the best in my life. In particular, the move to Lawton not only allowed me to spend more time with Mom, but it also put me in much closer proximity to my two closest friends—Jen and Cortney. Lawton (Law-tin) is another very stately boys’ name that joins a host of similar L names, such as Lawson, Landon, Langdon, and Lochlan.
Another tiny township of less than 2,000 people, Lenox is on the periphery of the places I frequented as a teen. But the gender-neutral name Lennox (Len-ix) has long been a favorite of mine. (Casper Lennox was in my final top ten list when we were naming Felix.) My favorite nickname for a girl named Lennox is Lena, and my favorite nickname for a boy named Lennox is Knox. But while this name may seem unique to those unfamiliar with baby name trends, Lennox is actually getting very popular; for 2018, Lennox was #371 on the boys’ top 1,000 and #651 on the girls’ top 1,000.
“Camp Archibald, hats off to thee!” Kingsley is the site of northeastern PA’s gorgeous Girl Scout camp, Camp Archibald. I have so many amazing memories of this place! From collecting and identifying leaves while on hikes to singing so many fun songs to swimming to making friends, Camp Archibald will always hold a special place in my heart. The gender-neutral name Kingsley (Kings-lee) entered the U.S. top 1,000 in 2010 and peaked at #584 in 2016. I also love this name because it makes me think of the badass Harry Potter character Kingsley Shacklebolt.
I don’t actually even know where in Susquehanna County Melrose is! But I really like the girls’ name Melrose. (And no, I’m not a Melrose Place fan, though that could be a cool connection for some parents.) While this name has never been in the U.S. top 1,000, Melrose has been trending on baby name forums over the last few years. Mel and Rose are obvious nickname choices, though Elle, Ella, Elra, Ro, and Cia are other possibilities.
The county seat of Susquehanna County, Montrose is a quaint and quiet little town. One of my favorite memories from my teen years is of driving with my friends to get Pina Colada slushies at Antol’s in South Montrose. As a name, Montrose is yet another sophisticated (and borderline pretentious) boys’ name, though the nickname Monty could add a more down-to-earth feel.
Photo credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli