It inspires. It soothes. It excites. No matter the context, color infuses every aspect of our lives. Naturally occurring or crafted by human hands, let’s take a moment to appreciate the glory of the colorful places around the world.
Mother Nature may be the world's best colorist, but throughout time, many people have shown exceptional skill at selecting colors to enhance our vibrant planet. From pale pastels to lively, bright hues, let’s explore ways creative men and women have used colors around the world.
Cities with Color Names
Not only have people added color to enhance the beauty of their surroundings, but they have also used names of colors to identify memorable places. The colorful names of these towns prompted me to do a little research to uncover the stories that inspired them. Do you know the story behind a colorful place name near you?
Blue Earth, MN - The town named Blue Earth is a translation of the Dakota Indian word "Mahkato," meaning "greenish blue earth." Mankato would be "Mahkato" if a spelling mistake hadn’t changed the "h" to "n." The name of the city has remained Mankato to this day.
Red Lick, TX - This colorful town got its name because the red clay that in much of the area contains a high quantity of salt. Local deer licked the red clay for the salt content, and the city became known as Red Lick.
Black Jack, MS - This Missouri town is named for three unusually large and outstanding American Oak trees that germinated and grew at the main intersection in the city. The trees provided a place to rest, a place to meet fellow travelers, and a means to measure the distance to and across the Missouri River. In 1840, these three trees were named and became widely known and recognized as "the Black Jacks."
White Salmon, WA - This town shares its name with a nearby river. Lewis and Clark were two of the first white men to visit the area now known as Bingen and White Salmon. Significant numbers of white-fleshed salmon (a now-extinct species) were being caught and dried by the Indians at the mouth of a nearby river. The salmon sufficiently impressed Lewis and Clark, who named the river White Salmon.
Pink Hill, NC - The original town settler, Anthony Davis, owned a large farm on a hill in southern Lenoir County. Every spring, fields of pink flowers would bloom in the area as far as the eye could see. Davis, himself, named the community Pink Hill. An annual festival, the Pink Hill Rosefest commemorates the town’s colorful name, and hundreds of pink rosebushes now adorn this picturesque town.
White House, TN - In 1796, pioneer Richard Wilks built a large, two-story, white-colored house between Louisville and Nashville. White houses were uncommon, and Wilks’ house became a landmark, eventually being converted into the White House Inn, where weary travelers could find lodging.
Blue Jay, CA - The town began as the homestead of Art and Norma Wixom, who leased a few vacation cabins and opened a store in 1914. In 1934, Stoney DeMent leased the land and built a market called The Blue Jay Market. The store, named for the blue-colored birds that live in the area, later became the name of the town that built up around it. The town’s name is actually something of a misnomer, as the local variety of birds are not actually blue jays, but are in fact the closely related Steller’s jays.
Orange Township, NJ - Orange made sense to me as a name for a city in Florida or California where the fruit is grown but not as the name of a town in New Jersey. I had to know the story. It turns out there are four Oranges: Orange, East Orange, South Orange, and West Orange, all independent municipalities. Orange Township was settled in 1780, and the name reflects England's ruling house at the time, the House of Orange.
Blue Ball, PA - The name originates from the Blue Ball Hotel, built more than two hundred years ago by John Wallace in Earl Town. Wallace hung a blue ball outside his inn and called his business “The Sign of the Blue Ball.” Locals soon began calling the town "Blue Ball" after the inn. In 1833, Earl Town officially changed its name to Blue Ball.
Some of the Most Naturally Colorful Places
Earth, wind, air, fire…the purity of nature produces magnificent displays of deep and vivid colors. Come along for an inspiring journey to some of the most naturally colorful places in the world.
1. Ireland's enchanting GREEN countryside comes to an abrupt end at the infamous Cliffs of Moher, surging 120 meters out of the Atlantic Ocean. Peeking over the edge, you can see the white spray of waves crashing far below. Visit virtually>>
2. Between the Alps and the Pyrenees nestles the poetic region of Provence, France. In summer months, Provence becomes awash with fragrant PURPLE lavender fields that stretch across the valley like a dream. Visit virtually>>
3. Each year in early spring, a golden sea spreads across Luoping County in Southern China. Fields of sunny YELLOW canola flowers wash around the bases of little green mountain tops, known as the Jinji Peaks. Visit virtually>>
4. A stunning, bright sky frames the seemingly endless stretch of ORANGE sand. Dust storms as big as hurricanes regularly rip through the hot air, making the Sahara one of the most extreme climates in the world. Visit virtually >>
5. Laguna Colorada is a shallow but expansive salt lake on the plains of Bolivia. Algae and pigments in the sediment turn the water into a breathtaking shade of bright RED, a stark contrast with the deep blue sky. Visit virtually >>
6. Punalu'u Beach, on the mainland of Hawaii, is known for its blazing hot BLACK sand. An eruption in the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park sent a flow of fiery lava towards the ocean. The lava exploded as it came into contact with the cold ocean water and became basalt, a dark, fine-grained volcanic rock that has since turned to sand. Visit virtually >>
7. A surreal maze of ice caves is hidden deep within Iceland's massive Vatnajökull glacier. The extreme density of the ice absorbs every color on the spectrum except for BLUE, leaving blue the only visible color. Visit virtually >>
8. The picturesque port of Valdez, Alaska earns the crown for the snowiest city in the United States. Against the backdrop of WHITE mountain peaks, boats bring bundled-up tourists to watch orca whales playing in the Gulf of Alaska. Visit virtually >>
Subtle and mysterious or bold and dramatic? Inspiration to suit any mood can be found in the wondrous colors of nature. Explore the different functions of color in nature and find natural hues that stoke your creative flames.
Color and culture are inextricably intertwined, and these eye-catching books explore color, symbolism, and cultural significance all over this many-hued globe. Settle in, open a book, and embark on a journey full of vibrant vistas.
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