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Blast From the Past
Arizona's capital city was actually named by the English Lord Darrell Duppa. In the fall of 1870, Duppa served on a committee assigned to select a name for the new settlement on the banks of the Salt River. Top contenders included "Stonewall," after the late "Stonewall" Jackson; "Salina," for the Salt River; and "Pumpkinville," for the wild pumpkins growing in the area.
During discussions, Duppa elaborated on the ancient civilization that had once flourished on the land where they stood. He predicted the rise of another great civilization, comparing it to the mythical Phoenix bird in Egypt that lived 500 years, then rose from the flames to flourish again.
Duppa convinced the rest of the committee and Phoenix was the name given to the city.
Sure beats Pumpkinville...
Hat tip to Marshall Trimble, author of "Arizona Adventure" and the state's official historian.