Topeka's "consequences"

View Larger Map
Topeka, Kansas is changing it's name to Google, Kansas--for a month, in an attempt to attract Google's high speed fiber.  Smart. But if they are really serious, they ought to do the full monty and change their name permanently. There is a fascinating precedent in New Mexico, where the city of Hot Springs changed it's name to curry favor with a corporate leader. Back in 1950, Ralph Edwards ran the most popular reality show on television: Truth or Consequences. He held a contest--with the prize going to the biggest city that would change its name to help publicize his show. Hot Springs (pop. 4,200) won, and it remains  Truth or Consequences to this day. And this isn't some "honorary" name, it's the real deal. So buck up Topeka. (Read more about this curious tale in Lost States, which is in Barnes & Noble as of yesterday. More to come.)


  1. There's also DISH, Texas. Formerly known as Clark, the town changed its name to DISH (yes, all caps) in 2005 so that all of its residents could get free service for DISH Network for a decade.
    I'd say Brown v. the Board of Education of Google does have an interesting ring to it.

  2. Michael,

    I couldn't find an email contact, so I thought I would tell you in the comments that I just finished your book and enjoyed it thoroughly.

    In fact, it even inspired a chapter in my book. :)

  3. Did everyone forget the story of, Oregon?