31 July 2005
Yet they laugh at Bowlegs and Slapout
If you think I go through some odd locations on my road trips, consider the township of Germfask, Michigan, way up in the Upper Peninsula, about which Matt Rosenberg writes:
How does a place get named Germfask? The question has been weighing heavily on my mind. Thanks to this new-fangled InterWeb thingmabob, I now have an answer, from ePodunk: "The community was named for the last initials of the eight founders: Grant, Edge, Robinson, Mead, French, Ackley, Shepard and Knaggs."
I guess if the founders had been named Smith, Harper, Ingle, Thomas, Horton, O'Connor, Lewis and Elbert, the namers woulda had to come up with some other brilliant approach, huh?
They could have called it something like "Shoehilt" or "His Hotel".
"Germfask," conversely, could have been "Farm Kegs," which I heartily approve.
Historical note: During World War II, conscientious objectors who were subject to the military draft were given either noncombat duties in the armed services or, less often, duties in Civilian Public Service, a joint venture of the government and churches historically tied to nonviolence, such as the Society of Friends.
But not all the CPS camps had religious connections. One that did not was in Germfask, where about 100 COs were sent, and they were not inclined to shut up and push brooms, judging by this paragraph from their ad hoc newsletter [link requires Adobe Reader]:
A fair degree of public and pacifist attention has recently been focused on Germfask because of "something" that is taking place here. Press representatives, Selective Service officials, and private citizens have variously reported to the public that the men here are saboteurs, sex perverts, irreligious, intellectuals with crackpot theories, drunkards, and communists, who are lacking in humility, crazy, rejecting all discipline, threatening violence, and practicing vandalism. Local citizens reportedly fear for the chastity of their daughters, and that our pernicious ideas will corrupt their youth.
Sounds like my old basic-training company, now that I think about it.
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» Germfask, Michigan: It Can Only Get Better from rosenblog.com
Driving to wonderful Grand Marais on the Uppper Peninsula of Michigan recently on Highway M-77, our family went through a forlorn looking place named Germfask. How does a place get named Germfask? The question has been weighing heavily on my......[read more]