Arizona Place Names (Pt. 1) explores a slew of cities with Spanish, Indian and random origins. Arizona Place Names (Pt. 2) touches on place names stemming from prominent people and patriotism. This post notes several cities and towns that are surprisingly named after people.
Excerpt from Arizoniana by Marshall Trimble, the state’s official historian.
Long ago, Arizona settlers felt inspired to attach names to the special places they found. Sometimes they achieved palpable immortality by naming it after themselves; and sometimes it backfired.
Like the time Henry Mortimer Coane was running a small store in the Verde Valley. Folks wanted to use the place as a post office, so Coane filled out the paperwork and applied to Washington and requested it be named Coaneville after himself. Much to Mr. Coane’s disappointment some bureaucrat got the letters mixed up and the place was officially named Cornville.
Contrary to logical assumption, Arizona towns Forepaugh, Cowlic, Hereford, Land, Light, Love and Snowflake were, in fact, named for people. Even Pinetop wasn’t named for the trees, but for a tall bushy-haired fellow who ran a saloon there in the 1890s.
Fry, located in the foothills of the beautiful Huachuca Mountains in Cochise County, was named for Oliver Fry. During the 1950s, local promoters changed the name to the more mellifluous-sounding, Sierra Vista. “Who in their right mind,” they reasoned, “would want to move to Fry, Arizona?”
The original name for Bowie was Teviston, for James Tevis, an early Arizona adventurer who donated the land for a town-site and a railroad right-of-way. However, a railroad official named Bean suggested the town be named for him. “Shucks,” Tevis retorted, “these folks eat beans three times a day and they’ve had all they can stand.” Mr. Bean failed to see the humor and retaliated by insisting the railroad call the place Bowie Station for nearby Fort Bowie. Later it was shortened to just plain Bowie.