Arizona iconic beauty

Salome founded by larger-than-life character

Salome founded by larger-than-life character


Salome founded by larger-than-life character

Salome founded by larger-than-life character

By Laurie Merrill / ADOT Communications
October 6, 2021

In Arizona, it seems like a never-ending trail of legendary, larger-than-life figures added their own brand of mischief and mayhem to the state's colorful past.

One of these was Iowa-born Dick Wick Hall, who moved to our state in 1898 to live with the Hopi in northeastern Arizona and learn their snake dance.

You can read a bit about this character on an historical marker in Salome on US 60 some 60 miles west of Wickenburg.

It says:

“Salome, where she danced. This desert town was made famous by the humor of Dick Wick Hall, health seeker and operator of the Laughing Gas Station."

“Hall’s publication, the Salome Sun, was filled with extravagant tales of the desert’s adaptation of a species. He told of a frog that was seven years old and never learned how to swim.”

If you want to know more about this character, there’s probably no better source than the McMullen Valley Chamber of Commerce, which has an entire website page dedicated to him and his place of importance in what the website calls “the heart of Arizona’s Outback.”

For starters, Dick Wick Hall, born Richard Deforest Hall, changed his name after falling in love with Wickenburg.

Miner, prospector, speculator, newspaper publisher, humorist and businessman, Hall became one of Salome’s founders in 1904.

He and fellow founder Charles Pratt called the area “Happy Valley” before settling on a name. It was during this time that Pratt’s wife, Salome Pratt, attempted to walk on the hot desert sand in her bare foot and wound up “dancing” to her destination.

“There and then Dick Wick Hall named the town 'Salome, where she danced, Arizona.’ The founder of Salome is honored with both a historical marker on Highway 60 and Center Street, and the historical gravesite near the site of his old office and home, located at the intersection of Center and Hall Streets,” the website says.

In addition to his newspaper, he opened the Laughing Gas Station, where he covered the walls with signs making fun of Arizona’s weather. Among these were one proclaiming “Free hot air” and another saying, “Smile, smile, smile. You don’t have to stay here but we do.”

Credited with being Arizona’s most famous humorist, Hall’s widely popular syndicated column was published in 28 newspapers from New York to California.

And of course, there was Hall’s famous “Salome Frog,” who never learned to swim because Salome was so hot, dusty and dry. Hall wrote a poem about his swim-less amphibian, which concludes: “I’m an Old Bull Frog, dang my hide, I can’t swim because I never tried.”

More renown for Arizona Highways magazine

More renown for Arizona Highways magazine

I-17 101 traffic interchange

More renown for Arizona Highways magazine

More renown for Arizona Highways magazine

October 29, 2020

Arizona Highways, the world-renowned magazine published by the Arizona Department of Transportation, has earned more recognition for its excellence in words, pictures and design.

In its annual awards program, the International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) awarded Arizona Highways a total of 19 honors in categories including essay writing, illustration, photography and art direction. The magazine also received an Award of Merit for its February 2019 feature celebrating the 100th anniversary of the designation of Grand Canyon as a national park.

This is the sixth straight year that Arizona Highways has received at least 16 IRMA awards. 

“We are privileged to live in a state known not only for its iconic beauty but for its rich and diverse mixture of history and colorful personalities,” said Kelly Mero, publisher of Arizona Highways. “Arizona, its people and its history are the real stars of the show and make it possible for us to receive awards like these. This recognition is testament to that - and to the tremendous people both inside and outside of ADOT who collaborate to make Arizona Highways come alive every month.”

IRMA is a non-profit association of 25 regional magazines from across North America. This is the 40th annual awards competition, and entries are judged by a panel of magazine industry experts from outside of IRMA. 

Arizona Highways received the following awards:

Gold award winners:

Essay: Prayers for Snow | December 2019 | Craig Childs

Nature & Environment Feature: Hanging on for Dear Life | October 2019 | Annette McGivney

Art & Culture Feature: These Generations of Weaving | March 2019 | Danielle Geller

Headline & Deck: Great Balls of Fire | April 2019 | Robert Stieve

General Feature: The Unsettling Story of Ken Patrick | January 2020 | Robert Stieve

Silver award winners: 

Profiles: Esther Henderson & Chuck Abbott | September 2019 | Matt Jaffe

Historic Feature: The Early Photographers | September 2019 | Robert Stieve

Magazine Writer of the Year: Matt Jaffe

Magazine Photographer of the Year: Jack Dykinga

Art Direction Single Story: Sandwich Tour | April 2019 | Keith Whitney

Overall Art Direction: March 2019 | April 2019 | January 2020

Department: The Journal | January 2020 | February 2020 | March 2020

Bronze award winners: 

Photo Series (35,000 or more): Not Just Any Old Place | February | Edited by Jeff Kida

Portrait Photo: Wally Brown | March 2019 | Mylo Fowler

Illustration: Wildflowers (series) | March 2020 | Dyana Hesson

Column: July 2019, August 2019, February 2020 | Robert Stieve

Travel Feature: No Exit Route | November 2019 | Morgan Sjogren

Cover: March 2019

Award of Merit:

Special Focus: Grand Canyon Centennial | February 2019

Founded in 1925, Arizona Highways is dedicated to promoting travel to and through the state of Arizona. In addition to the world-renowned magazine known for spectacular landscape photography, Arizona Highways publishes travel guide books, calendars and other products to promote travel in Arizona. The magazine has subscribers in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

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