Friday, March 13, 2015

Why Cuba City?


Visitors often wonder how the name "Cuba City" came about. Most guess that there is some connection to the country, but that is not the case. In fact, the original name, decided upon by the town's founders, was Yuba. The Cuba City Centennial book, published in 1975, describes two possible origins of the name.

The first version states that one of the town's three founders, Solomon Craiglow, had great success while mining on the Yuba River in California, so he chose Yuba to commemorate his good fortune. The centennial book cites a 1923 history of Cuba City for this information.

The second version is more colorful and supposedly comes from a 1930s interview with the son of town founder John Stephens. The three men responsible for platting Cuba City in 1875--John Stephens, Solomon Craiglow, and Madison Y. Johnson--were discussing the future town's name when an argument ensued. John Stephens offered up the name Stephensville, to which Solomon Craiglow responded, "You b' damned, we won't." Stephens took the exclamation in stride, saying, "That's it. We'll call it Yuba!"

The town was called Yuba for a short while until it was discovered that another Yuba already existed in Wisconsin. The first letter was changed to "C" before 1881 and, though the town was referred to both as "Cuba" and "Cuba City" in the following years, it was officially recognized as Cuba City by the U.S. Postal Service in the 1920s.