If you only have one entry in a place’s enclosed by tab, then you do not need a date; whatever the event date the place name will always return the same place title.
But as you are finding out, place names are not so simple.
Based upon my settings, an event that took place in Lynchburg in 1910 would display Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.A.
An event at the same spot in 1863 would display Lynchburg, Campbell Co, Virginia, C.S.A.
Each place can have more than one Enclosed By entry with a span of time when it was true. Based upon the event date, Gramps will find the path through these options.
And the same is true for the Alternate names. Dates can be added in the name editor for when the name was true. Gramps can take these changes into account as well.
One of my favorite examples is Woodstock, Connecticut. These are the place names displayed for each date.
The challenge is finding out about how a place changed through time.
You may have noticed that in my Lynchburg example, there was a Virginia entry with no dates as the last entry. When an event has no date, Gramps will select the path as if the date was 1 Jan 1. This is why I try to avoid
"before <date>" especially for U.S. places. That Virginia entry with no date is my fallback entry for those events with no dates.
And to complete your day, there will be some changes to Places when Gramps 5.2 is released.