What's In A Name? | Box Ankle

Jul 25, 2018

There's a town south of Atlanta called Box Ankle, Georgia. But how did it get its name?

At the request of listener Ginger Applegarth, we looked into the story behind Box Ankle. 


If you drive south from Atlanta on I-75, after about an hour you'll happen upon a little town called Box Ankle. It's just six miles north of Forsyth, at the intersection of Boxankle and Johnstonville Roads. 

The community has been around since the 1800s, when it was settled by German immigrants. Then, the area was called Chisolm. According to Kenneth Krakow's book Georgia Place-Names, it was officially incorporated as a town in 1889.

Richland Baptist Church
Credit Vanishing South Georgia

The town eventually became known as Richland, in honor of the prominent local church, Richland Baptist, whose name itself referred to Richland District in South Carolina. Krakow writes that many settlers of the area came from that Carolina county.

So where does Box Ankle fit into all of this? 

In the community's early days, the mishmash of names and heritages was difficult to keep up with. To simplify things, the settlement was nicknamed Box Ankle.

There are two possible explanations for this name, both involving broken bones. One rendition claims two men got into an argument at a cockfight. When it turned physical, one man pushed the other over a box, breaking his ankle in the process. Another version says a drunk man tripped over a box, breaking his own ankle.

Why these specific injuries were significant enough to nickname the town after, we may never know. But someone must have really sympathized with this man: there's now a town and a road memorializing his poor ankle.

Bonus fact: Box Ankle is just 15 miles from the town of Juliette, the setting of the 1991 box office hit "Fried Green Tomatoes." Juliette was named for Juliette McCracken, daughter of a railroad engineer. Who can forget Kathy Bates's parking lot rage in this famous scene? Towanda!