1001 Colorado Place Names

Maxine Benson

When it came to labeling cities, towns, counties, crossroads, mining camps, rivers, forests, peaks, and passes, Colorado place namers looked to an array of sources for ideas. Many simply memorialized themselves and their families—Florence, Howard, Lulu City, Dacono (Daisy, Cora, and Nora combined)—or more well-known honorees—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Kit Carson, Montezuma, Ouray. Some paid homage to explorers, war heroes, politicians, railroad executives, plants, animals, or landforms. Still others went for the more unusual or creative—Boreas Pass bears the name of the Greek god of the North Wind; Egnar is range backwards; Kim was inspired by the Rudyard Kipling novel; Artesia was renamed Dinosaur in 1965 to capitalize on tourist traffic headed to nearby Dinosaur National Monument; Almont was named for a horse, Gulnare a cow.

In 1001 Colorado Place Names, Maxine Benson scrutinizes the most popular, interesting , and unique place names in the state. She discusses how the chosen names originated and what changes they have undergone. Included are Colorado's 63 counties, 716 past and present settlements, and 56 "fourteeners" (peaks more than 14,000 feet in elevation) along with other places known for their historical, geographical, geological, or onomastic significance. Benson also provides pronunciation of unusual names, county locations, post office dates, population figures, and anecdotes galore. The result is a mosaic of information of Colorado history, ethnicity, families, events, politics, settlement patterns, and local lore.

“Benson's excellent compilation will delight you, particularly if you also have fond memories of traveling through or living in Colorado.

—Journal of the West

“A wry and witty look at some of Colorado’s unusual monikers.

—Denver Post
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Combining previous place-name research and new findings, Benson takes us on a colorful, entertaining, and educational journey through cities and towns, across the plains, and over the mountains.