*Updated, with winner at the bottom…
Phil Brigandi's Orange County Place Names A To Z is an excellent compendium of the history behind some of the county's various geographical names, from the famous (cities and streets) to the many canyons. In a way, his work is a needed update to 1966's Historic Place Names in Orange County, written by Brigandi's mentor and one of the county's Big Three when it comes to county historians, Don Meadows (the others being Terry Stephenson and Leo Friis). The newer book isn't as thorough as Meadow's magnum opus, and that's okay. But Brigandi unfortunately left out some pretty funny points of interest in Orange County, the funniest by far being Nigger Canyon.
Nigger Canyon? Yep, it's still there, although now known by a more polite name (just like Holy Jim Falls was named after a Cussin' Jim). The first person to guess correctly in what city Nigger Canyon is located gets an autographed copy of my own Orange County history tome. One city per comment, por favor. Village Voice Media employees not eligible. Now, find that…okay, you get the joke.
*WE HAVE A WINNER! Bryan Crowther guessed Laguna Beach right. Per Meadows' entry:
When the Spanish came to California a large Indian village called Niguel was located on the highland flat between Abalone Point and Moro Canyon. When American cartographers modernized early maps they moved the name southward and, being unable to read clearly the name Niguel, they corrupted it to Nigger and applied it to the canyon that drains into Emerald Bay 1.5 miles northwest of Laguna Beach.
Now THAT'S comedy. Gracias, everyone else for playing, and keep reading for other infrequent contests!