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Thu Jul 18, 2024

Arizona Glossary

There are many words in Arizona culture that are difficult to pronounce because of their varied origins. The following glossary explains both the pronunciation and definitions of many Arizona terms.

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Apache Trail (u'-PA'-chee TRA-i'l) - This road, also known as state route 88, links Apache Junction to Globe through the Superstition Mountains. It is approximately 40 miles of steep, winding, and mostly unpaved road.

Apache-Sitgreaves (u'-PA'-chee SI'T-greevz) - The Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests are administered as one, and encompass over two million acres of magnificent mountain country in east-central Arizona. The Sitgreaves National Forest was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850’s.

Arizona (air-i'-ZON-u') - The State of Arizona comprises the extreme south-western portion of the United States. It is bounded on the north by Utah, on the east by New Mexico, on the south by Mexico, and on the west by California and Nevada.

Arizona Paths (air-i'-ZON-u' paths) - The Most Complete All-About-Arizona website.

Arizona State University (air-i'-ZON-u' stayt yoo-ni'-VER-si't-e) - ASU offers programs from the baccalaureate through the doctorate for over 57,000 full-time and part-time students through its Main campus in Tempe, West campus in Phoenix, East campus in Mesa, and Downtown Center in Downtown Phoenix and other instructional, research, and public service sites throughout Maricopa County.

Black River (bla'k RI'-ve'r) - A river flowing near Alpine approximately 8,000 feet in elevation, and a popular visitor destination.

Blue River (bloo RI'-ve'r) - Flowing near the White Mountains area, and at approximately 6,000 feet, this river is not regularly stocked, though is live with wild trout.

Bush Valley (bush VA'L-le) - The original name of the area in the Apache County encompassing Alpine, Nutrioso, and others nearby. Originally settled in by Anderson Bush and his family.

Colorado River (col-o-RA'D-o RI'-ve'r) - The river, which over millions of years of erosion, formed the Grand Canyon.

Escudilla Mountain (e's-coo-DE-ya'h MAWN-ti'n) - The third largest mountain in the state towering in at 10,877 feet, located in the area of the White Mountains.

Fish Creek Lodge (fi'sh creek lo'j) - A lodge along the Apache Trail that burned down on January 6, 1929.

Flash Floods (fla'sh flu'dz) - Because of the low rain and high heat, the desert floor is baked to a thick crust that has difficulty absorbing water. This makes drainage difficult, and causes flash floods. When rains start, especially heavy rains during the monsoon, it is typical for a completely dry area to become flooded in a matter of minutes.

Grand Canyon (gra'nd KA'N-yu'n) - Located entirely in northern Arizona, the park encompasses 277 miles of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands. One of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world, Grand Canyon is unmatched in the incomparable vistas it offers to visitors on the rim.

Harcuvar Mountains () - The 25,050 acre Harcuvar Mountains Wilderness is in northeast La Paz County 82 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Harquahala Mountains (har-kwa-HO'L-u' MAWN-ti'n) - The 22,880-acre Harquahala Mountains Wilderness lies in Maricopa and La Paz counties, 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.

Hayden Mill (HAY-de'n mi'll) - The Hayden Flour Mill is significant as the oldest continuously used industrial site in the Salt River Valley, for its association with the Charles Trumbull Hayden family, who founded and operated the mill for three generations, and as the most important community industry through the settlement and development periods of Tempe's history.

Hayden's Ferry (HAY-de'nz FAIR-e) - The original name of Tempe.

Hohokam (HO-ho-ko'm) - The prehistoric Hohokam people lived in central and southern Arizona from about AD 1 to 1450. Drought, floods and perhaps internal strife, forced the Hohokam to abandon the Salt River Valley in the fifteenth century. When Spanish explorers arrived in the sixteenth century, they found the Hohokam villages in ruins. However, they also found thriving villages of Akimel O'odham (Pima) natives, who claim to be descendents of the Hohokam.

Luna Lake (LOO-nu'h la'k) - With great trout and close proximity to Alpine, Luna Lake is an excellent destination for fisherman. Luna is also known for ice-fishing during winter freezes.

McMullen Valley (mi'c-MUL-le'n VA'L-le) - The McMullen Valley is an area rich in farm land, highlighted with the splendor of the desert, and embraced by the Harquahala and Harcuvar mountain ranges.

Monsoon (mo'n-SOON) - A season in Arizona of high winds and moisture, normally during July, August, and September. The Arizona Monsoon begins officially after the third consecutive day of the dew point reaching 55 degrees or higher, indicating higher humidity. During the monsoon, dust storms are typical, and rainfall is increased, causing flash floods.

Montezuma Castle (mo'nt-tu'-ZOO-muh KA'S-sul) - Nestled into a limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley stands one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. The five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling served as a "high-rise apartment building" for prehistoric Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago. Early settlers to the area assumed that the imposing structure was associated with the Aztec emperor Montezuma, but the castle was abandoned almost a century before Montezuma was born.

Mormon Flat (MO'R-mo'n fla't) - A flat area of land along the Apache Trail.

Phelps Dodge (fe'lps do'j) - A large mining company founded in 1834 by Anson Greene Phelps.

Pueblo Grande Museum (PWE'-blo GRO'N-da myu-ZE-u'm) - Pueblo Grande Museum is located at a 1,500 year-old Hohokam village ruins in modern day Phoenix. For over 70 years the museum has been dedicated to the study and interpretation of the Hohokam culture.

Roosevelt Dam (ROS-e'-ve'lt da'm) - Roosevelt Dam was originally constructed between 1905 and 1911 to control to the erratic flow of the Salt River and to harness the water for irrigation. The dam turned the Arizona desert into land that could be farmed.

Roosevelt Lake (ROS-e'-ve'lt lak) - Roosevelt Lake spans 17,000 surface acres, with 89 miles of shoreline; this is the biggest lake in Central Arizona.

Saguaro (suh-WA'R-o) - An arborescent cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) of desert regions of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico that has a tall columnar simple or sparsely branched trunk of up to 60 feet (18 meters) and bears white flowers and edible fruit.

Salt River (so'lt RI'-ve'r) - The Salt River runs through south Phoenix to the northern part of the state. It has been dammed up in various locations creating several lakes used for Arizona's boating enthusists. The river got its name for the salty taste of its water. This was caused by the enormous amount of Salt Cedar trees that bank the river. These trees have a salty taste to both their leaves and roots.

Salt River Project (so'lt RI'-ve'r PRO'-je'kt) - One of Arizona's largest water providers and electric utilities.

San Francisco River (sa'n fra'n-SI'S-ko RI'-ve'r) - A major tributary to the Gila River, this body of water flows in from New Mexico and enters in at the eastern part of the state.

South Mountain (so'wth MAWN-ti'n) - Serving as the "exclamation point" of pride, South Mountain is the largest municipal park in the world. The 16,500-acre park is home to more than 300 species of plant life and a variety of fauna, including rabbits, foxes, coyotes, snakes, lizards and birds.

Superstition Mountains (soo-pe'r-STI'-shu'n MAWN-ti'n) - A large mountain range making up the eastern edge of the Phoenix valley.

The Valley (thu' VA'L-le) - Referring to the Phoenix Metropolitan area.

Tonto Natural Bridge (TO'N-to NA'T-ur-o'l bri'j) - The world's largest natural travertine bridge (400 feet wide) arches 183 feet above sparkling Pine Creek.

Tortilla Flat (to'r-TE-ya'h fla't) - A small, flat area along the Apache Trail. This town was originally used as a stop between Phoenix and Roosevelt Dam during construction.

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