How 7 Neighborhoods Got Their Weird Names

SEATTLE ( Zillow) -- Two cops, a veteran and a rookie, were observing a riot near the corner of West 39th Street and 10th Avenue in New York City.

"This place is hell," said the rookie officer.

"Nah," said the veteran. "Hell is mild. This place is hell's kitchen."
The name Foggy Bottom sounds like a marshy place out in the country rather than a neighborhood home to famous Washington, D.C., landmarks such as the Kennedy Center, the State Department and Watergate hotel. But there are reasons for its name.

Or, so goes one story about how one New York City neighborhoods got its name. While Hell's Kitchen is probably the most dangerous-sounding neighborhood names, there are quite a few other cities with unusual ones and interesting back stories. Let's take a look:

Hell's Kitchen, New York
According to the Hell's Kitchen Cultural Center, the area was rough for quite a while, and gang competition there even led to the inspiration of "West Side Story." The 'hood isn't quite as dangerous as it once was and the Hell's Kitchen moniker has been slowly erased and the area is now named Clinton -- perhaps to appeal more broadly to potential residents, although many locals still refer to it as Hell's Kitchen.

Hell's Kitchen, or rather, Clinton median home values are $718,000 and increasing 4.8% year-over-year.

But you'll be hard-pressed to find anything larger than a one-bedroom for that. A home at 505 W. 47th St. No. 2E-S has one bedroom but a spacious floorplan and large windows overlooking the Manhattan skyline, as well as high-end appliances and finishes. It costs $689,000.

Cabbagetown, Atlanta
Cabbagetown is one of Atlanta's oldest industrial settlements, home to two factories. The history of its designation is a little muddled, but there are two stories that are most often recounted. One theory is that the neighborhood got its name from the Appalachian settlers who moved to the area to work in the factories. They planted cabbage in their front yards and cooked it often, and the smell would permeate the neighborhood. The other story goes that a cabbage truck crashed in the street, causing a mob as people rushed to grab the vegetable.

Much of Cabbagetown real estate is on the National Historic Register. Median Cabbagetown home values are $166,700. For that price, you can pick up a 1,036-square-foot a hip, urban loft, like the one at 170 Boulevard SE STE 100B. It costs $168,900.

Frogtown, St. Paul, Minn.
It's officially referred to as the "Thomas-Dale" neighborhood, and this area in north-central St. Paul lacks an authoritative story behind the name of Frogtown. There are three candidates listed on Frogtown's neighborhood website. The first goes that the name was an ethnic slur aimed at the many French settlers in the region. Another claims the moniker is from the large marshes in the area that were home to frogs and led Austro-Hungarian settlers to call the area "Froschburg" (frog city). The third theory is the association made with many railroad workers who lived in the area, since couplers on railroad cars are called "frogs."

Today, Frogtown is one of the city's largest working-class neighborhoods and has many architecturally significant buildings. For the price of the median St. Paul home value of $131,100, you can pick up a completely remodeled three-bedroom home with Brazilian teak floors, granite countertops and a redone master suite, like one at 926 Charles Ave. It costs $129,900.

Tangletown, Seattle
Tangletown, a tiny 'hood north of downtown Seattle, sits at an intersection of several tangled streets and three major neighborhoods: Wallingford, Phinney Ridge and Green Lake. If you don't mind the winding, nonsensical streets, Tangletown boasts popular cafes and shops and high median home values of $444,000.

A home at 2349 N. 64th St. is steps from the popular Green Lake park and has undergone a complete remodel that includes heated tile floors. It costs $462,500.

Back of the Yards, Chicago
This name isn't a reference to grassy backyards and playgrounds, but a call to Chicago's past as the nation's meatpacking capital. Back of the Yards refers to its location southwest of the old Union Stock Yards. The neighborhood once housed thousands of immigrant stockyard workers, but today is primarily commercial. Median values here are more affordable than most other Chicago real estate, ringing in at $110,500.

For $289,900, you can pick up the four-bedroom, two-bath home at 2325 W. 41st St. and its 3,100 square feet of living space, a patio, front porch and detached two-car garage.

The Tenderloin, San Francisco
Out of the neighborhoods on this list, the Tenderloin district is by far the most infamous. The area has a reputation as the one of the worst spots in San Francisco and most tourist guides advise visitors to steer clear. The neighborhood even got its name because of its tough nature. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, policemen that patrolled these mean streets were paid more and as a result could afford better cuts of meat, such as tenderloin.

Despite the Tenderloin's bad reputation, the neighborhood has experienced some positive changes, reports the Chronicle, and could, perhaps, turn around homes values for Tenderloin real estate.

For the moderate price of $265,000 -- moderately priced for San Francisco real estate, that is -- you can pick up an alcove studio at 631 Ofarrell St. No. 305 in the famous Hamilton building. The home has nine-foot ceilings, Pergo floors and a walk-in closet in the bedroom.

Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C.
The name Foggy Bottom sounds like a marshy place out in the country rather than a neighborhood home to famous political landmarks such as the Kennedy Center, the State Department and Watergate hotel. Once the city's industrial center, the area was reportedly named for the fog that used to rise up off the Potomac. Another story is that the fog also mixed with smog from the several industries in the 19th century working-class neighborhood.

The area is a far cry from its humble beginnings. Besides housing several government agencies, Foggy Bottom real estate is exclusive; median Foggy Bottom home values are currently $304,900.

For $350,000 you can snag a one-bedroom co-op at 700 New Hampshire Ave. NW No. 1014 with floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Washington Monument, a long balcony and "beautiful built-ins."

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