St. Phillips? St. Philip's? Street Mystery Finally Solved


What's in a name?

Abject confusion, if the name belongs to the street upon which the St. Philip Catholic Church sits.

The street signs identify the boulevard alternately as South Saint Phillips Street and South Saint Philip Street.

The new Local Pages telephone book lists it as South Saint Philips Street. Most maps both paper and Internet refer to it as South Saint Phillips Street.

On the Internet website of the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation (www.paysonecon. org/Religion.htm), punctuation has been added to make it South Saint Philip's Street. That's also how it's listed in the 2001-2002 Phone Directories Company telephone book.

The current Qwest telephone directory meanwhile, contradicts itself by showing that St. Philip's Catholic Church is on S. Saint Phillips Street.

What's the deal?

"Well," replied Town of Payson Public Works engineer after a long silent pause punctuated by several half-suppressed chuckles, "I don't know. I guess to get to the bottom of it, we'll have to go back and look at the original subdivision plats to see what it's really called. I would think it would be spelled the same as the church, but ... Let me do a little research and I'll call you back."

"I don't have the foggiest notion," Rim country historian Stan Brown said. "I was not even aware of the discrepancies. That's one little corner of our town I haven't dug into yet. So I'm no help, but I'll sure be interested to find out."

Community Development Director Bob Gould had a theory as to why the street's name boasts so many spellings: "We believe in public participation and everyone has a right to his own opinion," he said with tongue in cheek.

"I have no idea at all, absolutely none" Gould confessed. "I'm not even going to venture a guess as to what the street's name actually is."

A far more authoritative answer came from Father Joe Kraus.

"This is St. Philip Church, and it's on St. Philip's with one 'l' and an apostrophe 's' Street," he said. "The problem is that, when Philip is a first name, it's ordinarily spelled with one 'l.' If it's a last name, it's spelled with two 'l's.' That's where the confusion is entering in."

Have church officials ever tried to get the street signs corrected?

"No," the priest said, with a laugh, "not in this town. You'd have to go through the council, the mayor and God."

LaRon Garrett called back, saving us from such extremes. He provided the final answer.

"On our recorded plats, we've got three different names on that street," Garrett reported. "It was first called Pine Lane in 1955. In 1963, it became Saint Philips Avenue, with one 'l' and no apostrophe. Then in 1973, it became Saint Phillips, with two 'l's' and an 's.' Those were all done within the county. But the name that was approved by the town council in 1984 is South Saint Phillips Street, with two 'l's' and no apostrophe. That's the street's official name."

Mark this case closed. But don't start sleeping easy just yet.

We still have to figure out why the Payson Womans Club wasn't named The Women's Club; why the signs on another street identify it as both Mud Springs Road and Mudsprings Road; and whether the area on Highway 87 toward Winslow is depending on what roadsign or map you're looking at Clint's Well, Clints Well, Clint Wells or Clint's Wells.

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