What's in a name? How the City of Phoenix really got its name

Posted: Updated:
The City of Phoenix is named after the mythical bird but not in the way you might think. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The City of Phoenix is named after the mythical bird but not in the way you might think. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

No matter where you are in the country, when you mention the City of Phoenix, people immediately think heat!

With our extreme summers, you may think the City got its name from the fiery mythical Greek bird that has close associations with the sun.

MOBILE/APP USERS: Click here to see the image of the sun over Phoenix

That is true to a point. 

The name Phoenix originally came from a man by the name of Phillip Duppa. 

Duppa was an Englishman who came to Arizona and eventually to the Valley of the Sun. He was a businessman and pioneer of sorts. 

[SPECIAL SECTION: Weather blog]

According to the City of Phoenix website, Duppa was friends with Jack Swilling, one of the founding fathers of the city. 

After setting up shop in the Salt River Valley to farm, the new settlement needed a name. 

MOBILE/APP USERS: Click here to see the image of the logo of the City of Phoenix

Duppa suggested the new area be called Phoenix. 

He offered that name not because the location was hot like the magical Phoenix wrapped in flames, but more to symbolize a rebirth.

MOBILE/APP USERS: Click here to see the image of the headstone for Phillip Duppa

The legend of the Phoenix focuses on its new life from the ashes, and Duppa thought it a perfect name for the new town that would sit in the area where the ancient Hohokam lived thousands of years prior.

The idea was that Phoenix (the town) would spring from the ruins of the natives and flourish in the newly irrigated lands. 

People liked the idea and the rest is history. 

Phoenix officially was recognized on May 4, 1868, when the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, the county of which we were then a part, formed an election precinct here

-City of Phoenix website.

Related:

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Arizona's Family Weather BlogMore>>

  • When will it snow in Arizona?

    When will it snow in Arizona?

    Sunday, November 19 2017 8:27 PM EST2017-11-20 01:27:35 GMT
    (Source: NOAA.gov)(Source: NOAA.gov)

    Our above average summer and warmer than normal Fall are now beginning to trickle into our not so cold winter.

    More >

    Our above average summer and warmer than normal Fall are now beginning to trickle into our not so cold winter.

    More >
  • Meteor or meteorite? So which is it?

    Meteor or meteorite? So which is it?

    Thursday, November 16 2017 5:06 PM EST2017-11-16 22:06:16 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Here is your crash course on meteor 101!

    More >

    Here is your crash course on meteor 101!

    More >
  • Looking ahead: Early Thanksgiving forecast

    Looking ahead: Early Thanksgiving forecast

    Wednesday, November 15 2017 1:46 PM EST2017-11-15 18:46:13 GMT

    We're currently tied for the fourth warmest start to the month of November in Phoenix. Just a little over a week away from Thanksgiving, will Mother Nature finally give in and provide fall-like weather for the holiday?

    More >

    We're currently tied for the fourth warmest start to the month of November in Phoenix. Just a little over a week away from Thanksgiving, will Mother Nature finally give in and provide fall-like weather for the holiday?

    More >