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10 Arizona Towns With the Worst Names

10 Arizona Towns With the Worst Names
Robert Huffstutter via Flickr

You know who sucks at naming towns? A lot of people who have set up shop in Arizona.

Check out the 10 worst names for Arizona towns -- including towns like Santa Claus, Arizona, and Nothing, Arizona -- below:

10.) Why

No, seriously, what the hell?
No, seriously, what the hell?
Bart Everson via Flickr

According to town legend, Why is named after the "Y" formed by the intersection of State Route 85 and State Route 86. The Postal Service apparently needed three letters on a town to deliver mail to it -- again, according to town legend -- so instead of picking a name that didn't suck, someone settled on "Why."

 
9.) Top-of-the-World

Top-of-the-World, Arizona
Top-of-the-World, Arizona
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr

Spoiler alert: The elevation in the "Top-of-the-World" isn't even that high. The elevation atop Humphrey's Peak, the highest point in Arizona, is almost three times higher. We have no explanation for all the hyphens, either.

 
8.) So-Hi

A possible So-Hi resident.
A possible So-Hi resident.
Elvert Barnes via Flickr

To our dismay, there's no indication that this is a colony dedicated to marijuana smoking.

 
7.) Bagdad

The official currency of Bagdad. Just kidding, they overthrew Saddam Hussein several years ago.
The official currency of Bagdad. Just kidding, they overthrew Saddam Hussein several years ago.
Thomas Rassloff via Flickr

This name got exponentially crappier in 2003, even though it has nothing to do with the Iraqi capital. The unverified local legend surrounding the town's name is even worse than the actual name. "Legend has it that a father and a son were mining for copper in the late 1800s," according to CNN. "The son wanted a sack for his copper and said to his father, 'Do you have a bag, dad?'" If that's true, that's pathetic.

 
6.) Santa Claus*

10 Arizona Towns With the Worst Names
Bart Fields via Flickr

Unfortunately, Santa Claus gets an asterisk, because the town was abandoned less than a decade ago. The town's history was surprisingly well-documented, and the origin of the name is tracked down to some weird lady who wanted to make a whole Christmas-themed town.

 
5.) Miami

Miami, home of the NBA Champion Miami Heat.
Miami, home of the NBA Champion Miami Heat.
Humberto Moreno Flickr

That's original.

 
4.) Mexican Water

Don't forget neighboring town "Donkey Show."
Don't forget neighboring town "Donkey Show."
Henry Hagnäs via Flickr

There's hardly any readily available information for this town on the Navajo Nation. However, it was probably named well before "don't drink the water" became the most common piece of advice given to people visiting Mexico.

 
3.) Nothing*

Something.
Something.
Matt S. via Flickr

Although Nothing was abandoned for several years, someone tried to revive the town back in 2008. Recent pictures seem to show that Nothing's nothing again.

 
2.) Three Way

The mayor's family.
The mayor's family.
Simon Smith via Flickr

A map of Three Way gives the likely explanation of the town's name, but let's not rule out any other explanations.

 
1.) Surprise

SURPRISE!!!
SURPRISE!!!
Emily Laurel via Flickr

The worst part about Surprise is that people actually reference it with some frequency, since it's the 10th-biggest city in the state. It makes newspaper headlines impossible to read, because everything's a friggin' Surprise. (Example from the Arizona Republic: "Surprise tennis tournament to return in March.")

The story behind the name, as provided by the city's website, is just as horrible as the name itself: "Our city of 115,000 people was just one square mile of farmland back in 1938 when Flora Mae Statler founded it. So why did she call us Surprise? According to Statler's daughter Elizabeth Wusich Stoft, her mother once commented "she would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much." With our success, she would indeed be surprised and proud!

Check out our honorable mentions for the worst names for Arizona towns on the next page:

 
Honorable mentions:

  • Wagon Wheel
  • Planet
  • Chloride
  • Avenue B and C
  • Colorado City
  • Gilbert


The authenticity of town names was verified using the federal Geographic Names Information System.

Send feedback and tips to the author.
Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.


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