Arizona Place Names Subject of Downtown Phoenix Talk by Writer

 

Pumpkinville was a small town in the desert, misnamed for local buffalo gourds that grew in the area.

Then a local Englishman, drunk on "red-eye whiskey," invented a new name that better described the community being built on top of long-abandoned Indian dwellings:

Phoenix.

The tale of P-town's christening's just one of the interesting anecdotes Tucson writer Gregory McNamee will relate during a free talk about Arizona place names this Thursday at the Carnegie Center. The talk takes place from noon to 1 p.m. at the center, 1101 West Washington, and you can bring your "brown-bag" lunch.

McNamee says he'll tell how towns like Surprise got their names (in the case of Cave Creek, no one really knows), and how many hilltops in the state used to sport the n-word.

One thing he probably can't explain: How Janet Napolitano kept her job as governor after forcing a state board to rename Squaw Peak? 

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.