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

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

PHOENIX (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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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