Name recently approved for local portions of US-60 after 2017 Jefferson Davis Monument controversy
By Dana Trumbull
On January 22, the Arizona State Board on Geographic and Historic Names approved a proposal to designate portions of U.S. Highway 60 between Globe and Apache Junction as the “Governor Rose Mofford Memorial Highway.”
According to the docket text, the proposed name memorializes former Governor Rose Mofford, who regularly traveled this section of US-60 from her hometown of Globe to her office at the State Capitol during the 50-year span in which she served both as a civil servant and an elected official. “Memorializing this abbreviated section of US-60 honors Rose Mofford’s unique place in Arizona history as the first woman to serve as Arizona’s governor. This designation is in accord with this board’s policies that seek to avoid confusion and contradiction by establishing one name for this particular segment of US-60. Rose Mofford’s name is well known, represents appropriateness and acceptability. This name is indisputably a fitting tribute to the first woman Governor of Arizona.”
The sections indicated begin at US-60 milepost 250 in Globe and continue west to milepost 240.5. The name designation then resumes at milepost 214.5 and continues west to milepost 200, where the easternmost boundary of the Superstition Freeway begins.
Mileposts 214.5-240.5 had already been designated as the Gila-Pinal Scenic Road in 1986 by ADOT’s Parkways, Historic and Scenic Roads Advisory Committee.
The combined total length of the newly named Governor Rose Mofford Memorial Highway is 24 miles.
The name was proposed by Gold Canyon resident Roberto Reveles in Sept. 2017, during a period when many monuments to the Civil War Confederacy were being vandalized nationwide, including the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway marker located at the intersection of US-60 and Peralta Road.
Despite the location of the marker, it is unclear whether the name “Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway ever applied to this section of the road that is now US-60. The monument was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1943 near Duncan, Arizona, but was moved to its present location in 1962.
Originally, it was US-80 that the Arizona State Highway Commission designated as the Jefferson Davis Memorial National Highway in 1961; however, according to State Research Librarian Ryan Ehrfurth, US-80 was decommissioned in 1989, leaving just a short stretch of highway from New Mexico to Benson as State Route 80. The largest portion of what was US-80 became part of US-60. “The question is,” said Ehrfurth, “when US-80 was decommissioned, did the Jefferson Davis name go away, too?”
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the answer to Ehrfurth’s question would be, “Yes.” The Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway name no longer exists on any road in the state of Arizona.
In his Sept. 2017 presentation to the AZ State Board on Geographic and Historic Names, Reveles acknowledged the convoluted issue: “The clouded history of the Jefferson Davis Highway…underscores the need for bringing clarity and authenticity to the name associated with US-60. The unifying Rose Mofford name, more than any other name, clearly meets all the board’s policies, including the important criteria of appropriateness and acceptability.” A year and a half later, in the proposal’s third iteration, the board agreed.
The decision of the board does not affect the placement of the Confederate monument.