Where does the word
come from or mean?
There are a two possible interpretations to this question. We'll begin with a quote from Max Frei's book entitled, The Stranger...

“Where do rumors come from, Sir Kofa? I was truly curious to know the answer.  Where don't they come from? I suppose the majority of rumors are a combination of leaked information and the astounding imaginations of numerous storytellers. And, of course, the hope that things aren't really as boring as they seem on the surface.”

Let's begin this story with a look at all the possible language origins of the word KOFA:

Hungarian - noun - a woman who sells vegetables, fish, etc. in a market, a vendor
Icelandic -
noun - a young puffin
Serbo-Croatian -
noun - pail or bucket

KOFA MountainsNext, let's examine the local geography.  A mountain range originally called the SH Mountains, was so named back in the early 1800s either by miners or soldiers, who noticed that from a distance, they resembled outhouses.  We will leave it to you to figure out what 'SH' stood for. Regardless, the mountain range was later renamed the KOFA Mountains by map makers.  They are the central mountain range comprising the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge today, about 60 miles northeast of Yuma, Arizona in the southwestern part of the state. There are three major peaks in the high region: two in the west: Signal Peak at 4,877 feet (1,487 m), Squaw Peak at 4,416 feet (1,346 m), and Polaris Mountain at 3,624 feet (1,105 m) in the south.  

King of Arizona MineThe closest community to the
Kofa Mountains is Quartzsite, 30 miles northwest on Interstate 10. Access roads to the range depart a north-south stretch of US 95, five miles to the west.  The wildlife refuge and the Kofa Mountains are arid and rugged volcanic remnant mountains of Tertiary age. They are home to one of the larger desert bighorn sheep ranges. The wildlife refuge and the mountains are some of the hottest areas in the southwest Sonoran Desert.

Finally, let's complete this tale with a story about a gold mine.  Located in the south end of the KOFA Mountains is the former underground mine called The King of Arizona mine.  It was discovered by Col. Charles Eichelberger in 1896. Over the next 14 years, the mine produced something like $3.5 million in gold ore, which, of course, was a lot of money in those days.  A town by the name of KOFA grew up nearby during those prosperous times  However, when the mine closed in 1928, the town if KOFA became a ghost town.

So, to answer the question; 'Where does the word 'KOFA' come from?' There appears to be two possible stories or explanations:

  1. After the King Of Arizona Mine, located in the KOFA Mountains, or

  2. After the KOFA Mountain Range, named by a Serbo-Croatian map maker.

 It's your turn to be the storyteller!

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