Towns of America A to Z: The R Towns #atozchallenge

Folks, I know I am behind on my posts, but I promise I have not forgotten!!  I have been to Reminderville, so I cant forget.  I’ve been kicked in tow different Rugbys and have been scared into catching up by a monster in Rhinelander!

Actually, life has been pretty swamped, but I have so many places I want to introduce you to and the R towns really will add a chunk of fun to my sections of the A to Z Challenge!



There are eight different towns in the United States named Rugby.  Though I have only been to two of them, I would argue that they are the two best places named Rugby in the United States.

Arguably, Rugby, North Dakota may be the most important of these towns as it represents an important geographic locator. According to the 1931 U.S. Geological Survey, the geographic center of the North American continent is located approximately 6 miles west of Balta, Pierce County, North Dakota. The approximate coordinates are given as latitude 48* 10′ North, 100* 10′ West. The field stone pillar was erected in 1932 on US Hwy 2 and ND Hwy 3. And so Rugby lays claim to being the Geographical Center of North America.

Rugby, ND Geographical Center Marker
Rugby, ND Water tower
And my proof that I have been to the Geographical Center of North America


Welcome to Rugby, TN

Though not as prolific as Rugby, North Dakota, Tennessee’s version is located with the phenomenal Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and is well worth a visit.  It was founded in 1880 by English author Thomas Hughes. Rugby, Tennessee has only a few houses in its location up on the top of the Cumberland Plateau.  Though much of the early population either died of disease or moved away, those that remained strived to keep the old buildings in repair, so many of the original buildings from the 1880s are still there.

Rugby Christ Church Episcopal was established on Oct. 5, 1880. It houses one of the oldest Reed Organs in the U.S.
Rugby Visitor Center managed by the National Park Service
I love this sign in Rugby!
R.M. Brooks General Store in Rugby, TN

On the outskirts of Rugby is an old General Store, in fact, one of the oldest continually operated stores like it in the United States (if you recall, I covered another old Tennessee General Store in my P Towns post).  The R.M. Brooks General Store was established in 1917 and is listed  in the National Register of Historic Places.   It was established by R.M. and Nettie Brooks and was the center of social interaction back in the early 1930s and 1940s. It is still managed by Brooks family members. The store is full of all kinds of Brooks family memorabilia, antiques and a dining area.  In fact, they are famous in Tennessee for their homemade hoop cheese, their AMAZING Fried Bologna sandwiches and their homemade pies.  In recent years they have opened a camping area for tents and RVs.

Vintage Gulf Pump makes for a great frame. RM Brooks – Rugby, Tennessee
Front Door of R.M. Brooks. Loads of fun
Inside it still has old wooden floors and huge wood-burning stove
R.M. Brooks famed Hoop Cheese
The famed R.M. Brooks fried baloney sandwich with hoop cheese.
You’ll say WHOOT too after visiting R.M. Brooks


Welcome to Reminderville, OH

Always on a mission to find unique town names, I found my way into Reminderville, Ohio on a trip back home from Cleveland. The town has about 3,400 residents, all of whom need no reminders about how nice of a place they live.

The village of Reminderville was incorporated in 1955 and was named after one of its early mayors, Clement L. Reminder.  The town does have its own Police and Fire Departments.

Reminderville Fire Truck
Reminderville Fire Dept.
Reminderville banners hang throughout the village
Yes! I remembered… I don’t need a Reminder.


I certainly cannot do a post about town names that begin with the letter R and not include the lovely town of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. This small city with about 8,300 people is the county seat of Oneida County in central Wisconsin. It is located on US Hwy 8 and WI Hwy 47.  The Wisconsin River runs through the middle of the city and it is bordered by Boom Lake to the north. The town is also the “Heart of Hodag Country.” And it was the Hodag that drew me into this quaint town.  According to the Rhinelanders, the Hodag is a mysterious woodland creature that makes its home in the area.  They believe that it is the clean lakes, dense forests and natural beauty  that keeps the Hodag living in the area.

The giant Hodag statue in Rhinelander, WI
Yes indeed, I hung out with the Smiley Hodag


Let’s Crash in Roswell!

A Hodag may seem strange and alien, but things don’t get more alien than they do in Roswell, New Mexico. Everywhere you look you’ll see aliens, flying saucers and UFOs. The city sits  on US Hwy 380 and US Hwy 285 while US Hwy 70 also intersects the town.  It is a bit of drive from Route 66.

Trumpet Mariachi Alien at a Mexican restaurant in Roswell

Mariachi Guitar-playing alien in Roswell.
There is even an Alien Coke Machine in Roswell!


Totem Pole Trading Post – Antiques – Rolla, Missouri

Speaking of Route 66, Rolla, Missouri is basically at the heart of  Missouri Route 66 country with its old gift shops and memorabilia. And Rolla is just a hop, skip and a jump from Uranus, Missouri (which I will cover on the U page).

Totem Pole Trading Post – Rolla, Missouri
Mule Trading Post – Rolla, Missouri


US Route 66 certainly does not have a monopoly on touristy neon signs and such.  The lovely mountain town of Red Lodge, Montana sits on US Hwy 212 and is a northern gateway to Yellowstone.  As such, there are plenty of touristy things in this town, which is also the gateway to the fantabulous Beartooth Highway!  Another of sculptor Peter Toth’s Whispering Giants also makes its home in Red Lodge.

Red Lodge, Montana
Red Lodge is on US 212 which goes through the Beartooth Wilderness and then into Yellowstone National Park
Broadway Ave (US 212) through downtown Red Lodge
Red Lodge Cafe neon sign
Peter Toth’s tall Whispering Giant in Red Lodge, Montana
One of many branch sculptures found at Rocky Fork Juniper in Red Lodge

Take US 212 southwest from Red Lodge and it takes you on the Beartooth Highwya, which is one of the most beautiful roadways in the United States (in my opinion).  For years I had dreamed of driving it and I finally got to on the day it opened in May 2014.  On this day I was driving east and returning to Kentucky.  This 68 mile trip made its way through Yellowstone and then from the Northeast Entrance across northwest Wyoming and winds its way into southwest Montana ending at Red Lodge. I have dreamed of taking this highway for almost a long time. The highway officially opened in June 1936.

US Highway 212 — the Beartooth Highway at 10,947 feet high.
Sensational view of the Beartooths from high up on US Highway 212


If you are fond of frogs, then this is your town!  Rayne exclaims that it is the Frog Capital of the World. There are all sorts of frogs to be found in Rayne.  Rayne is easy to access right off of Interstate 10 east of Lafayette, LA.  US Highway 90 also passes through the city.

Welcome to Rayne, Louisiana
A giant frog welcomes visitors to Rayne, LA
Many frog murals can be found around the town.
This is a huge and beautiful frog mural in downtown Rayne, LA
This mural is painted on the side of the local newspaper building
A local Rayne, LA fruit company has this advertisement mural on its wall

And, not only are there murals, but there are dozens of little frogs sponsored by businesses.  They are all about 4 feet tall.

Officer Ribbit in front of Rayne Police Department
Another lovely setting for a Rayne frog

There are plenty of R towns.  Here are a few other quick hits for fun

Rabbit Hash, Kentucky

Welcome to Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
The Old Rabbit Hash General Store burned down a few years ago. It has since been replaced
Rabbit Hash General Store – Rabbit Hash, Kentucky

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Saketumi Restaurant – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware — couldn’t resist adding this one

Raymond, Washington

Raymond is home to dozens of life size metal sculptures of local people and activities.  A few murals too!

Raymond, Washington – a nice town
One of the dozens of Raymond people found on the corners
Raymond family
Close up of a Raymond sculpture
I have said before that I LOVE sign posts. This one is in Raymond, WA

Riverside, Iowa

This is the FUTURE Birthplace  of Captain James T. Kirk of Star Trek.

Welcome to Riverside, Iowa – Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk
The USS Riverside starship replica

Romance, Missouri

I am going to finish off by saying I saw a sign to Romance.  I took it the road and it was a dead end.  True story!

Road to Romance, Missouri
Romance General Baptist – Romance, Missouri

I may not have found Romance, but I found a lot of other romantic and fun places.  Hope you enjoyed this road trip.

If you like what you see, you can check out my books which cover so much more!


You can get my books online!  The series now has five books and I am working on books six and seven. Book Six will be all about murals from all over the country!! Watch for them later this year.


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