Unusual names of Arizona places

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There more than a dozen places that have odd names in Arizona. (Source: Wikipedia) There more than a dozen places that have odd names in Arizona. (Source: Wikipedia)
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Arizona was part of the Wild West when it first became a territory and some even today describe the state as just that. Some of the names for places in Arizona are pretty wild, too. Or weird. Whichever you prefer. Below are some of the spots in the Grand Canyon State that could use a new name.

Top-Of-The-World

Top of the list goes to Top-Of-The-World, Arizona. You may have noticed this “census-designated place” on the U.S. 60 on the way to Globe. You probably also noticed it’s not the top of the world. Or top of the state (that belongs to Humphreys Peak.) The Top-Of-The-World was a dance hall in the 1920s and is now populated by about 300 people.

Christmas

It’s a holiday every day in Christmas! Well, not really. In the middle of nowhere on State Route 77 in Gila County, this ghost town got started when it was a mining town and was staked on Christmas Day in 1902. The town’s post office operated for three decades and was a popular spot for those seeking a “Christmas” postmark.

Miami

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This may not sound weird, but everyone knows about the Miami in Florida, and it’s just weird to have a Miami in Arizona. There are definitely no beaches or hot nightlife in Miami, Arizona. The town is right next to Globe, has a rich mining and ranching history and is home to the Bullion Plaza Museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Three Way

This name will get the most giggles. But a lot of people don’t know where it is. It’s an unincorporated community in Greenlee County near the Arizona-New Mexico border. So why Three Way? Get your minds out of the gutter people. Three freeways intersect there: U.S. 91, State Route 75 and State Route 78,

Why

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Why would you name a place Why? It makes more sense that you think. At one time, State Route 85 and 86 came together at a Y-intersection. During this time, Arizona law required all city names have at least three letters so Why was born, instead of “Y.” But the Y-intersection is now gone and it’s now a T-intersection.

So-Hi

Someone may have been high when naming this place in Mohave County. According to the 2010 census, 477 people live in that area outside of Kingman.

Mexican Water

You’d think Mexican Water would be close to Mexico. It’s not. This unincorporated community is on the north side of the state at the Arizona-Utah border. Legend has it that the name came from wells that disappeared in the early part of the 20th century. A bridge was built there in 1939.

Surprise

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The biggest city on the list is Surprise. Its estimated population is about 133,000 people, which might SURPRISE you. The history behind Surprise is Flora Mae Statler named it that because she would be “surprised” if the place amounted to anything. Welp, now it’s home to tens of thousands of retirees. Surprise!

Casa Grande

Casa Grande in Pinal County only makes the list because there’s a debate about how to say the name. Most people say it Cass-uh Grand but anyone who knows the tiniest bit of Spanish knows it’s Cossa Gron-day.

Bagdad

This copper mining community in Yavapai County is not to be confused with Baghdad, Iraq. It’s one of only two remaining company towns in Arizona, which is cool. What’s not cool is how it got its name. Legend says that a father and son were mining for copper in the late 1800s and the son wanted a sack for his copper so he asked his father, “Do you have a bag, Dad?” SO. LAME.

Show low

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Speaking of cities with stories behind their names, there’s Show Low in Navajo County. According to legend, there was a long card game between two men to decide the fate of a ranch. With the game going on forever, Marion Clark said, “If you can show low, you win.” Corydon Cooley turned a deuce of clubs, which is the lowest possible card, and replied, “Show low it is.” Show Low's main street is called the "Deuce of Clubs." About 10,000 people live there and it is a popular recreational area.

Date

You don’t need a date to head to Date, Arizona. It’s a “populated” place in Yavapai County at nearly 3,400 feet. It’s not to be confused with Dateland, Arizona, a hot spot for date palm dates in Yuma County.

Nothing

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Nothing was an experiment to make something out of nothing, but it turned out to be nothing. It’s located on the U.S. 93 between Wickenburg and Kingman. It was founded in 1977 and had a population of four but was abandoned in 2005. There was a failed attempt to revive Nothing between 2009 and 2011. The only things left are an “All-Mart” and a couple of other buildings. Its fate is in doubt due to the I-11 plans.

Wood Trap

Most people don’t think of wood when Arizona is brought up. But Wood Trap is a spot in the Prescott National Forest that’s about 4,420 feet above sea level. There’s a hiking trail there.

Wikieup

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This community of about 300 in Mohave County has a simple reason behind the name. When the town’s founders organized to decide the name, there was a “wikieup,” which is a Native American name for a shelter made up of grass and branches near the proposed site of the post office. Wikieup won over other suggested names like Owens, Neal and Sandy.    

Scenic

Scenic is located near the Arizona-Nevada border and is, well, pretty scenic. It reportedly has a lot of snowbirds and a population of about 1,600. It has that old West small-town feel to it with a church and a general store.

Santa Claus

As if Christmas, Arizona wasn’t enough, there’s also a Santa Claus, Arizona. It’s about 14 miles northwest of Kingman. A California real estate agent wanted to transform an 80-acre site into a resort town with a bunch of Santa Clauses running around and streets like “Prancer Parkway” and “Donner Drive.” Kids would send letters to the post office for decades but it went downhill in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Now all that remains are vandalized buildings.

Dragoon

The name isn’t as weird as it used to be thanks to the rise of Dragoon Brewing Company (which is in Tucson.) But it is home to “The Thing,” a roadside attraction along the I-10.

Snowflake

This place almost halfway between Show Low and Holbrook isn’t named after the white stuff or people who can’t handle opposing opinions. It was named after two people: Erastus Snow and William Jordan Flake, two LDS pioneers. Flake is the great-great-grandfather of Sen. Jeff Flake.

Wagon Wheel

This probably one of the most unoriginal names in Arizona. But it’s good enough for the some 1,600 people that live there in Navajo County, south of Snowflake.

Planet

This place in La Paz County has little to do with the stars or the planet Earth but rather has history in, surprise, surprise, mining. The Planet Mining Company took over the spot in 1902 after gold and copper were discovered in the 1860s. Now it’s considered the middle of nowhere.

Chloride

A head-scratching name now but this community was named Chloride because of the silver chloride found in the nearby hills in northwestern Arizona. It boasts one of the oldest post offices in the state. It still has about 200 people there and it includes a lot of history like a non-working old gas station and train tracks. There’s also a "ghost town" for tourists.

Love

What is Love? Apparently, it’s a place in La Paz County. It was named after Earnest Love, who died in France during World War I. The airport in Prescott, Ernest A. Love Field, is named after him as well.

Avenue B and C

Not to be confused with alphabet avenues in New York, Avenue B and C is a place and colonia in Yuma County.

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