Interesting Facts

Jerkwater Town

Submitted by: Mary E. Ganey

Did you ever wonder where the phrase "jerkwater town" originated? Bob Boze Bell gave this account.

In the early days of the railroad, the train crews had to regularly replenish the water that was used in the locomotive's steam engine boiler. At many stops along the way, there were water tanks near the railroad track, and they could get water easily. But, some towns were smaller, and didn't have a water tank. In those towns, the train crew had to use buckets to "jerk" water from a nearby steam or pond. So, a town without a water tank was called a "jerkwater town."


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