As you’ll remember from a post earlier in the week (or perhaps not…maybe you had big nights out on Friday and Saturday), Historicalness received two requests last week to detail the meanings behind some of those bizarre three-letter airport codes and one of the more colorful town names out there.
After days of extensive work performed by Historicalness’s top-notch research team, we’ve uncovered the following morsels.
Not all airport codes are illogical. No doubt it’s a source of infinite pride that New Yorkers can say that theirs actually make sense: “LGA” for LaGuardia Airport and “JFK” for John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Sadly, not every other part of the country can say the same. LA’s code used to be “LA” and Phoenix’s used to be “PH”, but then the world got bigger and everyone moved to three-letter codes to allow for more combinations. So they picked a random third letter — “X” — and slapped it to the end, leaving us with LAX” and “PHX”.
Some airports have three-letters that refer to prior names — and no one has gotten around to updating them. So we have Chicago’s O’Hare as “ORD” after its name in the 1940’s of Orchard Field. And we have New Orleans’s Louis Armstrong International Airport as “MSY” after “Moisant Stock Yards”, the site of aviator daredevil John Moisant’s 1910 fatal crash.
So if you’ve ever scratched your head about codes that seem to make no sense, you’re not crazy — but a little history will clarify the mystery.
Historicalness was asked to track down the history behind the colorful name of “Intercourse, PA”. We’ve had worse assignments. The town of 1,500 in the heart of Amish Country (Harrison Ford’s Witness was filmed here) was founded in 1754, originally as Cross Keys.
No one seems to know exactly how the town got its name, but theories range from the intersection of two main cross-state roads to the meaning of the term two centuries ago when it connoted the ideals of fellowship so important in the community.
If you’ve come across any other theories, please let us know!