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10 U.S. Towns Named After Elements

January 24th, 2013 - 2:47 PM

Who knew!
I loved chemistry in high school. My teacher, Mr. Lonon, made it so much fun! We had a huge poster of the periodic table on the classroom wall, but I never knew that there were 10 towns in America named after some of those elements! Let’s explore which U.S. Towns are named after elements!

Note: Some of these towns no longer exist today, but it’s still fun to learn about their history!

10 U.S. Towns Named After Elements

1. Radium, CO  (#88)

  • Radium is an alkaline earth metal that is brilliant white when freshly prepared, but blacks on exposure to air.
  • Radium, CO is a small town nestled in the mountains of Colorado. The town was named for the element of Radium, which used to be mined in the area in the early 20th century.

2. Mercury, NV (#80)

  • Mercury is a heavy, silver liquid transition metal that is commonly used in mercury thermometers.
  • Mercury, NV was originally built by the Atomic Energy Commission to house and service the staff of the Nevada Test Site. Today, the town is largely abandoned and the population unknown.

3. Tungsten, CO (#74)

  • Tungsten is a gray-colored transition metal that is used in light bulb filaments, x-ray tubing, and jewelry, namely men’s wedding bands.
  • Tungsten, CO is a mining community near Boulder, CO. It was named for the Tungsten mined there during WWI (when Tungsten was more valuable than gold and silver). Because the price of Tungsten has decreased dramatically, so has the population of the town.

4. Zinc, AR (#30)

  • Zinc, a transition metal, is an essential to the body, as a lack of zinc can result in severe health issues.
  • Zinc, AR is a small town with a population of 103 (2010 Census). During the late 1800s until the early 1920s, this town was a significant source of mineral deposits. Today, Zinc is home to a small number of families.

5. Iron, MI (#26)

  • Iron is one of the most abundant elements on the earth, so it comes as no surprise that 98% of iron is used to make steel.
  • Iron, MI is located close to Chicago, Green Bay, and Milwaukee. Two prospectors trusted in the land to produce good deposits of iron ore. They almost gave up, but after building a 90 ft. deep shaft, they successfully struck iron ore.


We’re half way there! Keep reading for more towns named after elements!

6. Neon, KY (#10)

  • Neon is a noble gas commonly used for lighting up advertising signs. It naturally glows a reddish orange color. Although rare on earth, it is very common in the universe as a whole.
  • Neon, KY (officially named Fleming-Neon) is a town of 778 people. The Fleming part of the name was named after George W. Fleming, president of the mine located in the town, while the Neon part of the name was named after the “knee-on” call the train conductor would call out, as Fleming-Neon used to be a trading post.

7. Platinum, AK (#78)

  • Platinum is a gray-white colored transition metal. It is the most preferred metal for wedding bands.
  • Platinum, AK was named after an Eskimo in the area discovered platinum. Today, nine out of ten inhabitants of the area are Native American.

8. Gold, TX (#79)

  • Gold is a lustrous, malleable transition metal. Gold is one of the most popular metals when it comes to jewelry or possessions.
  • Gold, TX is located in central Texas. The small farming community was founded by two brothers, but ceases to exist today.

9.  Carbon, WY (#6)

  • Carbon is a nonmetal found in the sun, stars, comets and atmospheres of most planets. It is also found in graphite and diamond.
  • Carbon, WY was founded in 1868 as the first mining community on the main Union Pacific Line. In 1902, the town was abandoned. At its peak, Carbon had seven coal mines and 3,000 residents.

10. Sulphur, LA (#16)

  • Sulfur is a nonmetal with solid crystal-like structure. It is bright yellow and has a bad smell.
  • Sulphur, LA was named after the element, Sulfur, but was named from the traditional European spelling of the element Sulfur.


Okay, I can’t help it. I found a lot more than 10 U.S. towns named after elements. It would be fun to look up the history of these town names with your children or science class!

Is your town named after an element? Share it with us here and add to our list!