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If you’re looking for strawberry fields forever, apart from listening to The Beatles’ song, you might want to visit Strawberry, Arizona, in Gila County. After all, the town was named for the wild strawberries growing near the creek.  However, if you’re looking for snowflakes, then Snowflake in Navajo County, Arizona, may not be the best choice of places to visit. Rather than being named for the small, cold, white particle, Snowflake was named for its’ founders, Erastus Snow and William Flake. 
Arizona, whose state motto is “God enriches,” contains a number of town names with a positive ring to them. In Maricopa County, Paradise Valley is reported to have gained its’ name due to the inspiration of the beautiful wildflowers growing in the area.  While the name of Paradise Valley has some foundation in reality, the name of a particular town in La Paz County stems merely from fantasy. Hope, Arizona, received the name from the unfounded hope that the town would increase its’ business. In contrast, Hope is currently a town of very few businesses, consisting of a gas station and antique store, in addition to the RV park in the small community.  In Maricopa County, Arizona, it is no mirage if you think you see a town named “El Mirage” – it actually exists. Furthermore, the town strives to “create a community that provides [their] residents the opportunity to purchase any good or service they desire without having to leave [the] city limits,” according to the city’s official website. 
“The Grand Canyon State” or “The Copper State” is also home to the town of Oracle in Pinal County, Arizona. The town was named for a ship the founder, Albert Weldon, sailed aboard.  Of course, it should be no surprise that some town names stem from far off lands, or, in this case, ships sailing from far off lands, since there are no oceans bordering the state of Arizona. A similar situation is true of the town in Maricopa County named Surprise. Developer Homer C. Ludden acquired the name from his hometown in Nebraska.  A town that acquired its’ name a little closer to home is Bullhead City in Mohave County, which is named after a large bullhead-shaped boulder submerged in the river near Davis Dam. 
Now, if one is wondering why the town of “Why” got its’ name, one needs to look no further than the Y-shaped intersection at the junction of Highways 85 and 86.  Additionally, if one is asking oneself why to travel to why, a simple reason would be to visit the casino in the town. On the other hand, Roads Larry McMurtry was quoted as saying, “Most people, finding themselves in Why, will be likely to question the fact that they are there.” 
Alas, if one is examining town names in Arizona, then one can not overlook “Nothing.” In the county of Mohave, the town residents, reportedly numbered at four, claim Nothing was “named by a bunch of drunks.”  If looking for a town of slightly more substance, one can always travel to Maricopa County where Carefree is located and acquire a sense of tranquility in the process. After all, the town contains the streets of Tranquil Trail and Ho-and-Hum Roads.  Why not end on a carefree note?
Author: Rich Kachold