What's in a name? Plenty, if you're looking at the names of wards or branches in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In recent years, the church has generally moved away from
numerical designations, in favor of using more local place names. Sometimes,
these names don't include cities or towns.
For example, one ward in Layton was renamed from the Layton
36th Ward to the Green Leaf Ward. There were once huge fields of alfalfa or
onions where most of these ward members now live.
This non-city orientation has also led to numerous intriguing
or off-beat ward titles — some of which may seem strange to anyone not knowing
local history or tradition.
For example, in Weber County, the Hooper 4th Ward was renamed the Muskrat Springs Ward. In pioneer days, Hooper was first
known as Muskrat Springs for an artesian
well where the critters were plentiful.
The two wards in Sandy, Ore., located east of Portland, were
also retitled. One is named the Sandy River Ward, in honor of a
prominent local river. But the other is named the Tickle Creek Ward, a much
more odd designation, but also a reference to a local stream of water.
In Ogden, the 41st Ward was renamed the Waterfall Canyon
Ward after a popular canyon directly east of the congregation's boundaries.
Some wards still use a city name — some of which are already
somewhat unorthodox. For example, how about the Moose Jaw Ward in Moose Jaw,
Saskatchewan, Canada? Or, the Humble Ward in Humble, Texas?
There's also the Fred Branch in Fred, Texas; the
Carry-the-Kettle Branch in Sintaluta, Saskatchewan; the To'hajilee Branch in
the Canoncito, N.M., area; and the Little Flock Ward in Rogers, Ark.
Here's a sampling of some other ward/branch names that rank
among the most unusual out there:
• Angel Crossing Ward, Layton, Utah
• Angel Fire Branch, Angel Fire, N.M.
• Angel Park Ward, Kaysville, Utah
• Adams-Friendship Ward, Friendship, Wis.
• Bearspaw Ward, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
• Bible Park Ward, Denver
• Bishop Ward, Bishop, Calif.
• Bitteroot Ward, Boise, Idaho, area
• Broadway Ward, five different wards in three
• Captain's Island Ward, Stansbury Park, Utah
• Crowfoot Ward, Parker, Colo.
• Crows Landing First Ward, Crows Landing, Calif.
• Deseret Ward, Layton, Utah
• Desert Ward, Boise, Idaho
• Fiddlers Creek Ward, Layton, Utah
• Gibson Jack Ward, Pocatello, Idaho
• Golden Branch, Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada
• Golden Ward, Golden, Colo.
• Grapevine Ward, Grapevine, Texas
• Happy Valley Ward, Portland, Ore.
• Happy Camp Branch, Happy Camp, Ore.
• High Desert Ward, Bend, Ore.
• Hollywood Ward, Hollywood, Fla.
• Hollywood Ward, Los Angeles
• Horse Heaven Hills Ward, Kennewick, Wash.
• Lost Mountain Ward, Powder Springs, Ga.
• Martha's Vineyard Ward, Vineyard Haven, Mass.
• Mount Olive First Ward, Mount Olive, N.C.
• Mount Zion Branch, Maple Hill, N.C.
• Northern Lights Ward, Anchorage, Alaska
• One Hundred Mile House Branch, One Hundred Mile
House, British Columbia, Canada
• Peavine Mountain Ward, Reno, Nev.
• Russian Jack Ward, Anchorage, Alaska
• Silverbell Ward, Tucson, Ariz.
• Superior Branch, Superior, Ariz.
• Superstition Point Ward, Mesa, Ariz., area
• Temple City Ward, Arcadia, Calif.
• Ten Mile Ward, Meridian, Idaho
• Ten Sleep Ward, Ten Sleep, Wyo.
• Thornydale Ward, Tucson, Ariz.
• Thunder Mountain Ward, Mesa, Ariz.
• Tithing Hill Ward, Riverton, Utah
• Treasure Mountain Ward, Park City, Utah
• Vineyard Ward, eight different wards in six separate
• Wines Park Ward, Lehi, Utah
• Ward Canyon Ward, Bountiful , Utah
• Zions Peak Ward, Holladay, Utah
• Zionsville Ward, Carmel, Ind.
(Distilled from an article originally written by Lynn Arave, in the Deseret News.)