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What's in a name? How did Southern Gila County Towns Establish their Names?

Have you ever wondered how a town or city came to be? Who came here first? Why did they come here? Why did they name it what they did?

Southern Gila County has a plethora of historic towns that make the area one of the most interesting places in all of the state. For many, hearing the names of Globe, Miami, Hayden, or Winkelman strikes a cord of memory and joy. Let's take a quick look at how these old-mining towns found their name!

Globe, AZ -

The Town of Globe, Arizona reached its centennial year in 2007, even though the city itself has been around for much longer than that. Legend states that Globe received its name in the year 1875 when prospectors mining in the area found silver on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, as well as a globe-shaped silver nugget.

Silver in the area would begin to become rare but would be replaced with copper that generated a large economic boom to the area. Throughout the 1900s the Old Dominion Copper Company would rank itself among the richest in the world, and the town continued to prosper until copper became less valuable and the mines were no longer an economic force.

Tourism still plays a large part in the area's economic role as many have enjoyed the beautiful scenery and great people, but it all started from an unusually shaped silver nugget that resembled a Globe.

Miami, AZ -

The mining town of Miami, Arizona has its share of historic milestones. During it's prime this small mining town was known to have 10,000 residents. Legend states that two groups would come together to compromise on the name "Miami" in the town's early years.

A polish immigrant man from a local mining camp who went by the name

"Black Jack" Newman, was engaged to be married to his sweetheart named "Mima". Another party of immigrants from Miami, Ohio, had also moved to the area and wanted to name their new stomping grounds Miami.

The two groups would come together and compromise that they would spell the name of the town "Miami" but they would pronounce it "Mima". Eventually by the 1920s most residents would pronounce it Miami.

The town still stands strong with dozens of tourism attractions from museums, hiking trails, and filled with amazing cuisine.

Hayden, AZ -

Mining in the town of Hayden has ALWAYS been the main economic force in this community since the early 1900s.

Hayden, Stone, and Company was the original force behind creating and operating mines in and around the community. Of the company there was a Charles Hayden, which the town would be named after.

In 1909 the Hayden Smelter was built. This was the area that miners would bring the ore to be processed.

The Hayden Smelter is the tallest smelter chimney in Arizona at over 1,000 ft. tall.

Winkelman, AZ -

At the very southern end of Gila County, you will find the quiet town of Winkelman, Arizona. The town is built at the meeting of the San Pedro and Gila Rivers.

In the year 1877 many cattle ranchers and farmers migrated to the area. One of those ranchmen would be a man named Peter Winkelman, who the town would eventually be named after.

The town still holds a tourist draw, just as it did in the late 1800s, as a perfect place for exploring both the San Pedro and Gila rivers and learning of the history of the copper mines.

As you can see Southern Gila County does not disappoint if you are a history nut. Early immigrants would come to the area in hopes of finding gold, silver, and copper, and through their efforts, we continue to reap what they sowed.

Experience the Historic towns of Southern Gila County by visiting our websites at

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