Sunday, April 8, 2012

Arizona Place Names

Arizona Place Names

We believe that the stories of how, when and why a town or a mountain or a river is so named can be some of the most interesting stories of history.  Why is Arizona named Arizona?  Who named it?  Why is Tucson, Tucson and Phoenix, Phoenix?  Who came up with the name Sedona, or Timbuktu or even Squash Blossom Butte?  The story of the Place Names of Arizona is a history of the people that have come before us and left us with their insight, knowledge and even humor in the names of Arizona we use today.
     We wish to share our love of the Place Names of Arizona with you in the form of two books and a fun, educational game.
    The book, Arizona Place Names, was written by Will G. Barnes in 1935.  All 5’ 4” of Will arrived in Arizona in 1880 as 22-year old PFC in the United States Army.  Upon completion of his military service, he became a rancher in northern New Mexico before starting a twenty-one year tenure with the U.S. Forest Service.
    Through his years of working with the Forest Service and of riding horseback and hiking throughout Arizona, he became familiar like no other with the places and people of Arizona.  He heard and recorded the first hand accounts, knowledge and reminiscences of how or why places go their names.  His great works, Arizona Place Names, was written by a gentle man who knew and loved the land, its past and its people.  To read his book is to read of the daily life stories of those Arizonans who came before us.  Here is an Amazon link to his wonderful place name book -
    In 1960 Professor Emerita Byrd Howell Granger of the University of Arizona published her book X Marks the Place: Historical Names of Places in Arizona.  Her book is built on the original works for Will C. Barnes and she created an Arizona classic. 
    United States Senator Barry Goldwater wrote of Dr. Granger’s book, “I don’t know how anyone interested in the history of Arizona and the territory that preceded it, and just the plain part of the country which went before all of that, can get along without this book as a handy guide.  I heartily recommend it….”  Here is an Amazon link to Dr. Granger’s excellent book -
    So, if you have a real interest in Arizona and its people, places and history, let us suggest one or both these books to you.  You can throw them in the glove compartment of your car and as you drive through the towns or near the mountains of Arizona, look up the names and see who named it and why they are so named.  They are superb travel companions!
    Next we have attached to the tab, Teacher Stuff #2, a game called Trivia Arizona Place Names that we have used with our students since 1982.  It is a game that gives you a clue and asks if can name the city/town/place in Arizona suggested by that clue.  For example, the clue would read: A number and a male child:  The answer would be:  Tucson.

This game consists of 146 such clues.  The 146 answers can be found under the tab Teacher Stuff #3.  If you are not a teacher, this game can be a fun game when family and friends gather and the topic turns to Arizona.  If any of you have other Arizona games to share with us, we would be most appreciative and would surely add them to our blog for others to enjoy. 

    Thanks for stopping by our blog!  Hope it is helping you in your search of Finding Arizona!  Please let us hear from you about your Arizona journeys!

“We Love You, Arizona”!

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