Those of you who speak Spanish or regularly shop in supermercados are probably already aware that
ajo translates to garlic. But why name a town after the pungent (but tasty) onion relative? According to the Ajo Chamber of Commerce, the name is awfully similar to the Tohono O’odham word for paint, o’oho, and the area is where they historically obtained pigments. The closest Mexican miners in the area could come to o’oho was ajo.
2. Ash Fork
The name sounds like an odd one but its origins are a little more humble than you would probably think. This little town received its name when the railroad hustled on through northern Arizona and a superintendent named it for all the ash trees growing in the area. How many of those trees do you think are still standing today?
No, you didn't make the wrong turn and somehow wind up in the Middle East. The origin of Bagdad's name is a mysterious one even to its longtime residents, but there are two possibilities. The name may simply be a misspelling of Iraq's Baghdad, which seems plausible. However, others believe the name comes from a father and son operation during the town's mining days. In this story, the son consistently said "bag, dad," as he handed a bag of ore to his father.
A significantly younger me thought this town's name had something to do with bees, but it turns out it was simply named after an investor for the Copper Queen Mine.
Anyone who took chemistry in high school is probably aware chloride is an unstable version of chlorine that is typically bonded with another element. This town got its name from the silver chloride mined in the area.
This is my mom's hometown, and it is also sometimes spelled as Dilcon. Dilkon comes from the Navajo word,
tsézhin dilkǫǫh, in reference to the smooth appearance of the black buttes in the area. However, erosion and an overuse of groundwater for commercial and residential use outside the community has led to the sandstone underneath to become exposed.
mesa translates to table, but it also refers to a flat-topped hill or plateau, which can resemble a tabletop from afar. Mesa received its name from this land formation.
Sedona was named after Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly, the wife of the town’s postmaster. As for where her name came from? Apparently her mother made it up because the name sounded pretty.
9. Show Low
Here’s a town name with an incredibly interesting origin and one I got a lot of flack for leaving out in the previous article. Show Low’s name originated when two ranchers, Corydon E. Cooley and Marion Clark, decided that 100,000 acres was not enough land for them to share. In order to settle the dispute, they decided that whoever won a game of poker would be entitled to the land. This turned into a marathon poker game and, in order to finally end it, Clark supposedly said, “if you can show low, you win.” Cooley won the game and named the area after that card game.
There are so many possibilities for this name origin but it all comes down to a very simple and, perhaps, mundane, explanation. State Routes 85 and 86 intersect in this town, which was originally in a Y-shape. Since Arizona requires city and town names to have a minimum of three letters, the founders chose “Why” instead of just “Y.” What’s interesting is that “Y” would have been lost in translation to Spanish speakers since
y is pronounced as “ee” and translates to “and.”
How many of these did you know about? Let us know which was your favorite by leaving a comment below.