My wife and I have been watching the new Ken Burns series on the national parks (nice images to take to bed), and tonight’s episode had quite a bit about Mount Desert Island. Half the time they pronounced it DE-sert and the other half de-SERT, so I went to Wikipedia and found this:
Some natives stress the second syllable (de-ZERT), in the French fashion, although many others pronounce it in a fashion similar to the English name of a landscape devoid of vegetation (DEH-zert). French explorer Champlain’s observation that the summits of the island’s mountains were free of vegetation as seen from the sea led him to call the island “Isles des Monts Desert”, or Island of the bare mountains.
Dammit, people, get your story straight! Seriously, though, I don’t know of many place names that locals pronounce two different ways.