Saturday, July 24, 2004

St. Johns/San Juan Arizona & Another Poker Game

St. Johns, in the White Mountains of Arizona, has interesting and somewhat competing histories of how it came to be settled and named. So, we're going to have to do a series and start with what appears to be the "official" version. In this version, there was yet another poker game-- similar to the Show Low story (see below post) that allowed the winner to found the town. But, as we've hinted, there may be some opposition to this version...

St. Johns is located in the High Desert of the White Mountains in northeastern Arizona, approximately 18 miles west of the Arizona-New Mexico border, at an elevation of 5,730 feet. The "official" version of the founding and naming of the town is excerpted from the work of the below cited author.

"At the site of the future St. Johns, the crossing of Little Colorado River was called El Vadito (Spanish: "the little crossing") by Spaniards who first explored that section of the country. From 1864 on Soloman Barth, a trader to the Indians, packed salt from the Zuni Salt Lake to miners at Prescott and came to know the St. Johns region well. In a poker game in 1873 he won enough cattle and land from the Mexicans to permit him to forsake an itinerant trader's life and to settle down with his brothers Nathan and Morris to help him. He changed the name from El Vadito to San Juan (Spanish: St. John).

One story says that the name came from that of the first woman resident, Senora Maria San Juan Baca de Padilla. Another asserts that the name comes from the annual feast of San Juan on June 24, which Spanish-Americans still celebrate in St. Johns as they do in other communities. In 1866 William R. Milligan (see Round Valley) came to the area, followed in 1870 by Frank Walker, who settled near the present St. Johns (see The Meadows, Apache q.v.). Soon a settlement began to grow at the crossing on the Little Colorado. By 1872 Spanish-Americans had established an agricultural community where St. Johns is today. In 1874 Juan Sedilla erected a stone cabin there.

Sol Barth sold out his interests in 1875 to Ammon M. Tenney, a Mormon agent who located on the G Bar or Sedro Ranch some thirty-five miles north of St. Johns. Following on Tenney's heels came Wilford Wodruff, president of the Church of Latter Day Saints, who on March 29, 1880, located a Mormon settlement approximately on mile north of St. Johns, but on September 19, 1880, Erastus Snow advised moving the settlement to high ground adjacent to the Mexican settlement. The name Salem was selected for the new location and steps were taken to establish a post office, which, however, never opened because of hostility to the Mormon settlement.

St. Johns was made the county seat in 1879, but in 1880 as superseded by Springerville. However, in 1882 St. Johns again became the county seat, retaining that honor to the present."

Post Office established as Saint Johns April 5, 1880. Sixtus E. Johnson Post Master. Name changed to St. Johns, April 18, 1893.


Barnes, Will C.; Granger, Byrd (ed.) Arizona Place Names University of Arizona Press. 1960.
p. 21

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

How Show Low Got It's Name - Reportedly

Stop me if you've heard this story... If not, here it goes:  Once upon a time in the Old West, there were a whole lot of guys scrambling around pretty much looking for lost treasure--

    Sidebar: What's amazing to me is the huge distances they covered on horseback, or presumably if they lost their horse, walking through the desert Southwest, from one end to another. In the blazing sun, no shorts or sandals. And here's some very interesting reading about the lives and times including some interviews with colorful characters that'll give you an idea. Southwest Library

Anyway, back to our story. Corydon E. (C.E.) Cooley was reportedly a U.S. Army Scout; but he somehow found time to wander all over Arizona with some friends and, depending on where he was, members of various Tribes. He had adventures, searched for some "lost mines", attended skirmishes, etc., but finally "settled down" along a creek about 35 miles north of Fort Apache in about 1875. C.E. Cooley lived there with his wives, "Mollie" and "Cora", daughters of old Chief Pedro of White Mountain Apache Tribe. (This living situation apparently scandalized some of the Military wives at Fort Apache...)

In 1881, Cooley sold half interest in his place to Henry Huning of Las Lunas, N.M. and they branched out in many ways. A first class saw mill was built, and the C.C. herd of cattle established and run for many years.

They enclosed some 100,00 acres of land with barbed wire fence which soon got them into trouble with the government and had to come down. They also had a large store and did a good business with settlers. About 1890 they fell out and the ranch was sold to W.J. Flake for the Mormon Church. Huning moved to Santa Barbara, California, where he died. Cooley moved back on to the Apache Reservation where he died, March 15, 1915.

"This place ain't big enough for the both of us"

Corydon E. Cooley and Marion Clark made the settlement together. They decided later there was room for but one location, so they agreed to play a game of Seven-Up to decide which of them should move. When the last hand was dealt Cooley needed but one point to win. Clark ran his cards over and said: "If you can show low you win." Cooley threw down his hand and said, "Show low it is." It has been called Show Low ever since. Cooley told the author this story at Fort Apache in 1880.
    Reportedly, and very important to our story, is that the winning card turned was the Deuce of Clubs-- which is how the main street in Show Low got it's name.You'll also notice that many other Show Low streets and roads are named after card and dice games, too!

Clark later moved up the creek near present town of Pinetop and located a ranch where he lived for many years.

This all may be true; however, there are many tall tales told out here, and we plan to gather a few up and post them here from time to time.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Online Real Estate Directories vs. On-the-Ground Realtors

Real Estate directories, because of their huge size and link structure, can pretty much dominante the search results a real estate buyer/seller gets when the set out to find property in a specific area.  The buyer/seller is really trying to find actual Realtors who are "on the ground"and have knowledge of a specific market-- that should be their first goal. And there are excellent reasons for wading through directory results to find an area Realtor... 

It's hard to imagine that a real estate directory produced thousands of miles away from a specific area (and more are coming out of Europe) can really give a buyer/seller good, honest and reliable information about area, prices, market-- and in the White Mountains, good information is crucial.  Why?

Because the White Mountains of Arizona is a wide and diverse area ranging from High Desert/scrub/volcanic debris fields to cool tall pines and magnificent views-- and there are homes for sale in all of those areas.  You need a Realtor who's walked those areas and can tell you which is which!

Granted, some Real Estate directories WILL attempt to connect you to a local Realtor-- but that Realtor is paying the directory to be a referral source.  So, you might not get as advertised, "The Best/Top/Finest Realtor in" so much as a Realtor who's paid to be a referral.

Bruce & Pam don't pay for referrals.  You will find us listed in directories, that's true.  But those directories have scooped us up scraping the 'net for links-- so no paid directories for us.

We hope you'll stop by our website White Mountains Realtor often and read our Web Log.  We'll be putting up specific information about The White Mountains as often as we can and hope to give people thinking about moving out here the scoop!


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Worth A 1000 Words?

A picture can be worth $1 million when it's a picture of a home for sale.

Sellers, the Realtor you choose is more important than ever because of "E-Real Estate"-- internet marketing. You must insist on listing pictures, and make sure they're good-quality digital. Why?

Because pictures sell houses. That's a fact. Real Estate is a visual medium. If your MLS listing doesn't have pictures interior/exterior, a lot of Realtors won't submit the listing to potential buyers, they'll just go on to the next listing that has pictures.

Why wouldn't a listing have pictures is a good question. We've found several reasons, none of them good.

    Many Realtors don't own a digital camera. They should. A digital camera should be a requirement because the usual film camera necessitates filling up a roll of film, getting it developed, and that takes valuable time away from getting the pictures of your home on MLS, and (if they are 'net saavy) on to the Internet where they sell.

    Many Realtors can't and won't use technology. They can't or won't use a computer, so they can't or won't upload pictures.

    Some Realtors mistakenly believe that because a house is a sickening color, or looks messy (both conditions probably true) that a picture will reveal this and they will lose the opportunity to show it right off the bat. The solution to this is to paint and clean up!

    And this is the most curious reason: Some Realtors like to keep the listing to themselves hoping they can "double-dip" the listing and not share a commission. Fact. So, they pretty much "vest-pocket" a listing, showing only THEIR personal clients pictures they MAY have, or worse, drag clients out to a listing hoping to "sell" them on it. This is outside the spirit of cooperation and our MLS; and more importantly, limits the number of potential buyers for your home dramatically.

When you list with us, your house will be shown on MLS, our website, on the national Century 21 website, at, and anywhere else we can find to get some attention for you. And those pictures are worth $$$, not words, not sales pitches.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Timberland Bear

Our part-time Timberland Acres (Linden)neighbor up the arroyo from us was baking cookies and thought she heard a noise on her deck-- probably the cat.

But it was a cute little bear...

Meanwhile, on our driveway either the little bear or a friend had left these muddy footprints.

And, no-- no cookies for the little bear that day!