By July 11, 2017

Arizona’s Strange and Wonderful Town Names

By Chris Prickett —  There’s a town in Pima County with a population of just 116. Why? No, Why. The town is actually called Why. It was named after an intersection that formed a “Y.” These people aren’t even trying.

The intersection has long since been removed and replaced with one that forms a “T.” I’d give it an “F.”

Anthem may be among the most normal-sounding Arizona town names. Less appealing names include Moccasin, Chloride, Camel, Coffee Pot, and of course, Copperopolis, home of super-hero Copper Man. There’s also Cherry, Strawberry, and Roll, which, said together, makes me crave a Danish.

In the spirit of the great Western lore, we have Two Guns, Show Low, Pick-Em-Up, Robber’s Roost, Skull Valley, the infamous Tombstone and my favorite, Booze Crossing.

That reminds me of Deadman Wash, right here in our backyard, but of course that’s not a town, just a riverbed with no water. Nearby, there’s also Table Mesa Road, which translates to Table Table Road.

We have a Snowball and Snowflake (founded by Erastus Snow and William Flake—and that’s the truth). And there’s Christmas, Silver Bell, Humbug and Santa Claus.

You like food? Tortilla Flat (which they are) Turkey Flat (which they shouldn’t be), Peach Pu (part peach, part pu) and you can wash it all down with Burnt Water but never Mexican Water.

For the budding entomologist, we’ve got Big Bug, Bumble Bee and Grasshopper. Travelers might want to venture to Bagdad (not Baghdad), Florence, Miami, Patagonia, or, you’re really out there, Paradise—all without venturing beyond Arizona’s borders.

Not too far from us is Carefree, which boasts the world’s largest sundial (I guess that makes sense). Then there’s the town of Superior, home of the world’s smallest museum, featuring “artifacts of ordinary life.” I believe that’s called a closet, but who am I to judge?

I don’t want to Gripe, but sometimes there’s Nothing write about and I end up a Total Wreck and just need to Center myself.


Over the Prickett Fence is a column in In&Out Magazine.

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