St. Johns, Arizona

St. Johns was originally El Vadito (Little River Crossing), a thriving agricultural community back in 1873. Then an itinerant trader named Soloman Barth won enough land and cattle from the local Mexicans in a poker game that he could afford to settle down in the area with his brothers Nathan and Morris. Barth established an official townsite in 1880 and changed the name from El Vadito to San Juan. That was anglicized to Saint Johns which was officially shortened to St. Johns in 1893.

The area was occupied by the Anasazi a couple thousand years ago and those prehistoric peoples left behind ancient dwellings and trails of petroglyphs. Near St. Johns is Casa Malpais and the Rattlesnake Point Ruins. In town is the Apache County Historical Society Museum with some great displays and exhibits from pioneer days and before. St. Johns is also home to 2 large fossil-fuel-burning electric generating plants...

Near St. Johns is the famous "Placerias Quarry," a site where Samuel Welles and Charles Camp of the University of California, Berkeley, found the fossils of 40 Placerias in 1930. Placerias hesternus was a dicynodont (similar to the modern hippopotamus) that existed during the Late Triassic period, about 221-210 million years ago.