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Trip Planner USA  /  Arizona  /  Apache County  /  Saint Johns

Saint Johns

4.4
State Parks
St. Johns is the county seat of Apache County, Arizona, United States. It is located along U.S. Route 180, mostly west of where that highway intersects with U.S. Route 191. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 3,480.HistoryThe location was originally called Tsézhin Deezʼáhí in Navajo, a reference to its rock formations. The site of a useful crossing of the Little Colorado River, it was later called El Vadito (Spanish for "the little crossing") by Spaniards as they first explored the area. Starting in 1864, a trader named Solomon Barth began crossing the area as he moved salt from a salt lake in Zuni territory to Prescott, Arizona. In a poker game in 1873 Barth earned enough money to purchase cattle and enough land in St. Johns to start a ranch with his brothers Nathan and Morris. He changed the name from El Vadito to San Juan. There is some controversy as to whether this was in honor of the first woman resident, Maria San Juan Baca de Padilla, or of the feast of San Juan. William R. Milligan arrived in 1866, followed by Frank Walker in 1870. By 1872 a Spanish-American agricultural community had developed. A stone cabin was erected by Juan Sedilla in 1874. Solomon Barth sold out to Mormon Ammon M. Tenney in 1875 or 1879. A Mormon community named Salem and led by David King Udall was established just north of the town under the direction of Wilford Woodruff on March 29, 1880, and then moved to higher ground by Erastus Snow on September 19 of the same year.
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