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Utah Place Names: A Geopgraphic Guide to the Origins of Geographic Names, a Compilation Paperback – January 16, 1991


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Utah Place Names: A Geopgraphic Guide to the Origins of Geographic Names, a Compilation + Nevada Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 45 pages
  • Publisher: University of Utah Press (January 16, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874803454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874803457
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,360,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on November 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Quite a few states have place name books, but I've never seen one better than this one (only Attwood's "Length and Breadth of Maine" comes close). Locations, both man-made (towns, dams, etc.) and natural, are listed in alphabetical order; then the county in which each can be found along with it's name origin are given. Usually this is as far as books like this go, but Van Cott gives us much more. Sometimes a little history of the location is related, and then, best of all, the section, township, and range is given, making it easy (or at least easier) to pinpoint the sites specifically on maps or in the field. Finally, each place name is referenced to books listed in a 600+ item bibliography.

Van Cott has covered all the bases that need to be covered in this great book. If you're interested in how places were named (how Faust in Tooele County, for example, was named after Doc Faust who operated the Pony Express station there) or exactly where places are located, especially ghost towns (Faust is at the south end of Rush Valley, S27, T7S, R5W), or both, this book is your best source. The listings run double-column for over 400 pages, and it appears to be thorough but not complete: I have come across old towns in post office listings from the 1800s not listed (Shem, Millersburgh, and Panaca, all from Washington County, for example). Despite the omissions, it's a great achievement and a marvelous tool for anyone interested in (most of) Utah's place names and locations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mike Smith on September 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Everything you need to know about Utah is in this book.

Well, not everything. But it's a great place to start.

Look up a town, canyon, mesa, river, or county, and this will tell you how it got its name.

It's well-organized, well-written, and just plain fun to read.

...Some of the book's information is questionable, but history is always kind of uncertain, especially when you come to the sort of isolated desert areas that cover so much of Utah.

For instance, the book says "Sweet Alice Springs" got its name from an area Indian maiden that would offer her body to the local cowboys, but Ned Chaffin--an old-time cowboy himself--has said it was named after a song "Sweet Alice" that a tone-deaf friend of his tried to sing while they were out riding the range.

The author also suggests that a rancher named John Kitchen named the slickrock butte known as "Mollies Nipple" after his wife, when that place name was actually already on maps long before John Kitchen ever moved there.

All that's neither here nor there though, because this book is a great read, and a must for anyone who lives or travels in Utah.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book would have received all five stars; it is missing some obvious current and former cities, like Hunter and Pleasant Grove.
While they are mentioned by name as references these two and others are missing.
I have enjoyed reading about other cities towns etc, while I drove to Manti Utah.
This book is from 1995 and could us an update.
Overall very good.
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