If you live in Massachusetts, you have probably heard of - and maybe even visited - Webster Lake. Located in beautiful Webster, Massachusetts, the lake draws vacationers to its shoreline cottages each summer.
What you and the tourists who visit may not know is that Webster Lake is actually named Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.
Yup, you read that correctly. Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg is the third longest single word place name in the world, and number one in the United States.
The word consists of 45 letters, 15 of which are g's.
It was assigned to the lake by early English settlers who expanded it from “Chaubunagungamaugg,” - which means “fishing place at the boundary - ”to “Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg,” meaning “English knifemen and Nipmuck Indians at the boundary or neutral fishing place.”
The explanation for the change is that the colonists and Native Americans both used the lake as a fishing and meeting spot.
Despite its challenging spelling and virtually impossible pronunciation, Webster locals are proud of Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg and rallied against efforts to shorten it in the 1950s.
Bertha A. Joslin penned the following poem to protest changing the lake's name:
“‘Touch not a g!’ No impious hand
Shall wrest one from that noble name
Fifteen in all their glory stand
And ever shall the same.
For never shall that number down,
Tho Gogg and Magogg shout and thunder;
Shall blaze, the beacon of the town,
While nations gaze and wonder.”
Joslin and her fellow locals got their way and the name stands to this day. Have you ever visited Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg?