"The Naming of Levan"
Abby Baird was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She received her bachelor's degree in history and her MS degree in educational psychology, both at the University of Utah. She has taught school, has been a counselor, and is now working for the State Office of Education. She is married and has two children. She resides in Salt Lake. The Bairds are my next-door neighbors in Salt Lake.
I was sitting in Abby's living room asking her if she knew any interesting stories about the origins of Utah place names. She related the following place name story to me. When I asked Abby where she had heard this she said she didn't remember but thought it was probably common knowledge. We had a good laugh over the story, but neither one of us knows if it really true or not. Everybody I've asked from Levan thinks it's true.
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Do you know how Levan, Utah, got its name? Well, it's the town that was closest to the center, the exact geographic center of the state of Utah. And Levan, why that's "navel" spelled backwards.
This started out as a relatively serious discussion of how Utah places got their names, but it ended up in laughter because we couldn't for the life of us explain why the early pioneers would have named something after a navel. Why didn't they call it Centerville, or something? But even though we laughed, we also thought it might be true, so we were left with a dilemma.
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Fife Folklore Archives, Utah State University Libraries, Logan Utah 84322-3000