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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Wrath of Lizard Lick

Posted February 19, 2008 8:53 a.m. EST

Many years ago when I was an innocent radio reporter working with Famous Bob Inskeep on Mix 101.5 a discussion emerged about funny North Carolina town names. We talked about the origin of places such as Loafers Glory in the mountains and Why Not in Piedmont. Loafers Glory got its name from the lazy old men hanging out at a general store in Mitchell County. Why Not drew its name from a codger who kept asking “why not?” when residents were debating a new name for the community in the heart of North Carolina pottery country.

Bob Inskeep took a call from someone asking how Lizard Lick got its name. I explained that this crossroads community near Wendell was named by a “passing observer who saw many lizards sunning and licking themselves on a rail fence.” Please credit NC historian William S. Powell for that information.

I made the mistake of suggesting that Lizard Lick could become the name of a hit country music tune. We would call it “I’m a Hick from Lizard Lick.” What I thought was a humorous comment turned into a cascade of criticism. Just about everyone calling Lizard Lick home telephoned the radio station to say they were deeply offended by my off the cuff remark. I made a public apology and was forgiven. I pointed out that my maternal grandfather Wesley Bergeron grew up on a farm near Lizard Lick and I probably got my sense of humor from him.

Lizard Lick is seeing growth these days. There’s now a stoplight there and property values have been increasing. The unofficial population is 1,300. Lizard Lick is the home of Country Music Hall of Fame member Connie B. Gay.

What else do you know about Lizard Lick?