jerkwater town

jerkwater town

A small community with modest conveniences. Tracks along main lines in the early days of American railroading had permanent towers that supplied water for steam locomotives. Not so along less important routes, so train crews and any other willing hands had to form bucket brigades to fill the boiler from streams and ponds. Filling the buckets was known as “jerking water,” and any small collection of houses, stores, and community buildings where that was done were “jerkwater towns.” The epithet stuck, especially when people from larger towns and cities wanted a snide way of referring to small towns.
See also: jerkwater, town
References in periodicals archive ?
Miller remembers thinking once: ``No wonder Scully's stuck in a jerkwater town like L.
He said, "Man, in my lifetime I have been through a lot of jerkwater towns, but I don't think I've ever seen one quite like this one.