jerkwater town

jerkwater town

A very small and unremarkable town that is typically regarded as dull or boring. The term comes from the practice of "jerking water": supplying steam locomotives with water from buckets, once a common practice in smaller towns. I can't wait to graduate high school and get out of this boring, jerkwater town! They're sending me to some jerkwater town in Wyoming for the assignment.
See also: jerkwater, town
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
With his twirled moustache, flat cap and work boots, you'd be forgiven for thinking Foy Vance was some long-lost refugee from Steinbeck's Dust Bowl, a weary hobo troubadour singing for a dollar or a lift to the next jerkwater town. One listen to his dirt-track voice and the illusion is complete.
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.