How Did Phoenix Get Its Name?
Excerpt from Arizona Adventure by Marshall Trimble, the state’s official historian.
Arizona’s capital city might have been called “Salina,” “Stonewall,” or even “Pumpkinville,” had it not been for a spurious English “Lord” named Darrell Duppa. Duppa was a well-educated world traveler who, it was rumored, was given a substantial allowance by his wealthy English relatives to remain permanently at large.
His raucous lifestyle, highlighted by epic bouts with dipsomania was, no doubt, a source of embarrassment to his relatives and contributed to his banishment to Arizona. It was said “Lord” Duppa was fluent in seven languages. Unfortunately for his listeners, the erudite eccentric spoke all seven in the same paragraph.
Duppa was a member of a committee chosen to select a name for the new settlement on the banks of the Salt River one sunny October day in 1870. An intrepid group of entrepreneurs led by Jack Swilling had cleaned out some prehistoric canals dug by the now-vanished Hohokam people; an irrigation company had been organized and plans were being made to develop farms. Soon the arid valley would grow crops to supply the military post at Fort McDowell and the mining camps throughout the Bradshaw Mountains. Now they decided it was time to give the place a name.
Swilling wanted to call the new settlement “Stonewall,” after his hero, the late “Stonewall” Jackson. Another member chose Salina for the Salt River. Still another wanted Pumpkinville for the wild pumpkins growing in the area. When Duppa’s turn came, he arose and waxed eloquently on the ancient civilization that had once flourished on the land where they stood. He predicted the rise of another great civilization on the same site. In his inimitable elocutionary style Duppa compared the phenomenon to the mythical Phoenix bird in Egypt that lived 500 years, then rose from its own funeral pyre to flourish again. Needless to say, Duppa’s proposal carried the day.
Thanks for this post – comical that we could have been called “pumpkinville”…. I mean all I can think of regarding that is…. Farmville
We don’t even grow pumpkins here do we? lol…
Anyways thanks for the info
I believe the area which was to become Phoenix was already known as Pumpkinville. The reason for coming up with another name was that everyone hated the name. Though I have other suspicions as to how and why Duppa chose the name Phoneix. He was a high ranking Freemason (the square and compass are on his tombstone) and was well schooled in ancient mythology, as well as the occultic foundations of Masonry which are based upon, in part, Jewish mysticism, or the Kabbalah. The Salt River Valley was chosen early by the Masons as a foothold of power and resources in the newly emerging territories of the western U.S. It had water, resources, climate, mineral, and range-land. The area which the Hohokam occupied was in their day, as well as today, a hub of trade. This is because 6 rivers dump into Phoenix and only one egresses towards Mezoarerica. http://www.thephoenixenigma.com
“Stonewall” may not have been the greatest choice for a name, but at least Jack Swilling didn’t want the town to be called “Swilling”. 😉
@Chuck Reynolds: We do grow pumpkins here. In the Fall, several locations in AZ have events where you can pick your own pumpkin. Check out http://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/AZpumpkins.php
I am not sure what would have been worse Swilling or Pumkinville. lol
It kind of seems that the person who suggested “Pumpkinville” didn’t expect much to develop in the Salt River Valley. That kind of begs the question, if Punkin Center (in Gila County) had been called “Phoenix”, would it be the state capitol today?…
Great history here! Glad to now know how our city name was selected.
He was also responsible for naming Tempe after the Vale of Tempe in Greece!
I think it would of fitted the name stonewall
[…] got its name from Darrell Duppa, a pioneer who saw the prehistoric ruins of the native Hohokam people and predicted that another […]
Ancient civilizations once flourished? hello. We are called NATIVE AMERICANS. Annnd we are still VERY MUCH HERE. Thank you.
Thank God we were not named Duppa. Or Duppaites
[…] Jack Swilling, the founder of Phoenix, had arrived in the New Mexico-Arizona area in the 1850s after growing up in the states that would later attempt to secede and found the Confederate States of America. Swilling fought for the Confederacy as a part of Confederate Arizona, although later in the war he switched sides and became a civilian employee of the Union Army (by that time, though, the writing was on the wall for trans-Mississippi Confederate hopes). And Swilling’s original proposed name for the new settlement was … Stonewall, after Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. […]
Many Americans don’t know the truth of the land they walk upon. This has been brought about by a less than genuine education system intentionally and/or unintentionally teaching wrong information, or leaving information out about certain things. for example: . Hohokam literally just simply means ancestors. its a word in the Oohdam language. Ooh dam means “the people” in their tongue. those people are still here today. “once flourished” turns out to be a ridiculous statement.
Has anyone looked up the phoenix bird what type of bird is it is that the birch on the Phoenix logo
I have been reading about the Phoenix bird on Google, it is a myth but very interesting if you wan to look it up! There are photos of this bird on Google also!