You know who sucks at naming towns? A lot of people who set up shop in Arizona back in the day.
Check out the nine worst names for Arizona towns:
According to town legend, Why is named after the "Y" formed by the intersection of State Route 85 and State Route 86. The U.S. 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.
Spoiler alert: The elevation in Top-of-the-World isn't even that high. The elevation atop Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona, is almost three times higher. We have no explanation for all the hyphens, either.
To our dismay, there's no indication that this is a colony dedicated to marijuana smoking.
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?'" Which is pathetic.
5) Santa Claus*
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.
Well, we have the heat in common, but not the humidity or the ocean.
3) Mexican Water
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.
Although Nothing was abandoned for several years, someone tried to revive the town in 2008. Recent pictures seem to show that Nothing's nothing again.
1) Three Way
A map of Three Way gives the likely explanation of the town's name, but let's not rule out any other explanations.
- Wagon Wheel
- Avenue B and C
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The authenticity of town names was verified using the federal Geographic Names Information System.