There may not be gold in these hills but there sure are a lot of other minerals, especially copper, lead, and silver. This led to the opening of plenty of mines, including the Copper Queen Mine that sits adjacent to Bisbee. Founded in 1880 and incorporated in 1902, Bisbee was also named after one of the mine’s primary investors, Judge DeWitt Bisbee.
2. Colorado City
This town is infamous due to the polygamist headlines that have donned headlines over the last decade. The town’s origins are rooted in a similar history. Originally founded as Short Creek in 1913 as a ranching community by Jacob Lauritzen, the secluded town eventually became a haven for fundamentalist sects of the Mormon church, especially those who continued to practice polygamy.
Short Creek was renamed to Colorado City in 1960 to distance the town from a 1953 raid on the polygamist community that resulted in the largest arrest of 400, including 263 children.
3. Fort Defiance
A prime farming and grazing location, this area was always known to Navajos as Tséhootsooí, meaning “meadow between the rocks.” Located in the middle of the Navajo Nation, Fort Defiance was built in 1851 to create a constant military presence within Navajo homelands and was the first of many established. The fort allegedly received its name from Navajo resistance to treaties.
Following the Navajo Wars and the Long Walk, however, the fort was eventually transformed into an Indian agency location and one of the primary spots for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
In the beginning, Fredonia meant business. The town was founded in 1885 as a joint business venture for a farming community and was viewed as the final stop for many settlers entering the area.
I have to say, it was pretty difficult choosing one photo to represent this iconic Route 66 town. But before the Mother Road ever wound its way through the grasslands here, the town was founded in the early 1880s as the first railroads were built across the country. Holbrook earned a reputation as a raucous frontier town and was long considered “too tough for women and churches.”
Another copper mining town, Miami was not named after the oceanside city most people think of. The town received its name in 1907, one year after the founding of the Miami Copper Company, whose investors were from the very exotic Miami, Ohio.
Today, most people know Quartzsite as a quiet little place that sits along Interstate 10 but it actually started as a little water stop for stagecoaches in 1856. A few decades later, Quartzsite was founded as a mining town and named after one of its prime minerals, quartz.
8. Show Low
Do you know the name origin of this city? Show Low comes from a monumental poker battle between two landowners who were fighting to obtain the rights to all of the joint 100,000 acres. After a never ending game, the winner was deemed to be whoever could “show low,” or produce the lowest cards.
Originally home to the Chiricahua Apaches, this town surrounded by incredible landscapes has been a popular filming location over the years. In the 1870s, mining claims started up and these have continued on to today. Superior’s post office opened in 1902 and, interestingly enough, its first postmaster later became the state’s governor.
Winslow got its start as a railroad, and later Route 66, town. There is some debate over who the city was named after: either local prospector Tom Winslow or the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad President Edward F. Winslow. Either way, this quiet little place eventually earned the nickname “Slowtown.”