On our way back to California from Utah there is an endless stretch of Interstate 5 which we have to travel for hours.Â Since it is at the end of our trip, it occurs when we are the most tired.Â This time, to while away the hours I mandated a silly game.Â We would have to make up stories about why the different exits were named what they were.Â Twisselman Rd., Kettleman City, Panoche, Little Panoche, Mercey Hot Springs, Coalinga, etc., etc.
Of course this led to much silliness.Â We got to talking about how Adam Ling (he chose an American sounding first name) started several companies.Â To keep them straight he just called them by an alphabetic title, i.e. Company A, Company B.Â On his legal papers his first company and owner became, Company A, Ling, Adam.Â This was shortcut to CoALingA or Coalinga.Â Also when he went to war he became the bugle boy for Company A or, once again, CoALingA.Â
In the case where fact is stranger than fiction, the real reason that Coalinga is named Coalinga is not because it is some Spanish word.Â It seems that trains used to stop there to get fuel and it was known as Coaling Station A or CoalingA and after time became Coalinga (pronounced CO a LING a).
I could go on and on telling you about the Spanish priests and the Los Hills which regained its T and became Lost Hills or their compatriots the French priests who thought the natives had Little Panoche but you probably had to be there.