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Old 06-05-2006, 09:19 AM
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Default What's In A (New Mexico) Name...

By Robert Julyan
Reviewed by: L M Platt
© 2006 - Reprint Permission Granted

Philadelphia, New Mexico??!??

Years ago, living on the east coast, I saw an ad that supposedly featured Philadelphia, NM. I thought, “Some dumb easterner sure goofed up!” But names of places are an interest of mine, (especially in New Mexico), so I looked it up on a map – sure enough, it wasn't there.

Recently I came across The Place Names of New Mexico by Robert Julyan. He starts by saying, “This book is the autobiography of New Mexico, as written in the names…” This fascinating book contains more than 7,000 names – rivers, canyons, mountains, mesas, towns, counties, settlements – and gives physical location, history (if known), and current status. It does not have maps, but encourages you to refer to a good map.

Believe it or not, Robert Julyan suggests in his introduction that there are at least 75,000 named places in New Mexico and his book only covers about 7,000 of them. So, there are still loads of places that haven't been documented yet for those who may be interested in doing more name research. Under those circumstances, it's not all that surprising that our forebears could lose track of a few holes in the ground... even if they did contain rich veins of gold!

And yes, Philadelphia is listed. So, I guess I owe that "dumb easterner" an apology after all.

The Place Names of New Mexico is in its second edition. It's published by UNM Press (ISBN: 0-8263-1689-1). You can't have my copy. It's signed by the author. And I'm using it to search for a lost gold mine... If I ever find it, Mr. Julyan will get all the academic credit. I'll be satisfied with the gold. You can order your own copy at: Be sure to take this book with the next time you visit Zuzax!

This is a fun book and a fascinating reference tool. My husband claims I haven't let it out of my sight since I bought it. Goodness knows, I've used it a lot for reference. I know that.

Thanks, Mr. Julyan. I'm sure enjoying your book. Great Job!



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