If you’ve ever traveled up I-49 to Kansas City you’ve no doubt seen the exit for Peculiar, in Cass County.
I’ve long been curious about that town’s, well, “peculiar” name, so I finally looked it up. Like a lot of stories, there is more than one version.
The account that rings most true is that the first postmaster there was frustrated because every place name he submitted for the new post office was rejected. Exasperated, he supposedly wrote to the U.S. Postmaster General, “We don’t care what name you give us so long as it is sort of ‘peculiar’.” Maybe the Postmaster General was trying to be cute when he replied, “My conclusion is that in all the land it would be difficult to imagine a more distinctive, a more peculiar name than Peculiar.”
And that’s the name the community was officially given, according to the story.
The post office was established there on June 22, 1868, and the town of Peculiar was platted and filed as such one month later on July 29, 1868. The town was incorporated in 1953. Today it is a community of 4,608 people as of the last census, which is the most populated it has ever been in its history.