Posted 5/29/13 10:46 AM
Buena Vista is properly pronounced "BEW-na Vista"
The town's name has been pronounced "BEW-na Vista" instead of the Spanish "BWAY-na Vista" ever since it was founded. Its nickname is "BEW-nie." It all came about at a meeting in 1879, when residents and property owners in the area at the convergence of Cottonwood Creek and the Arkansas River held a meeting to create a formal community. They had been told that would help attract a railroad line (eventually it attracted three). Two names were proposed by attendees: Collegiate Peaks, after the mountains in the area, and Buena Vista, which means "beautiful view" in Spanish, certainly an appropriate description.
Alsina Dearheimer, the resident and property owner who suggested the name Buena Vista, certainly knew how the Spanish words were pronounced, her first husband having been a language and music professor. But she insisted that the pronunciation for the town name be Americanized into "BEW-na," borrowing the first syllable of the English word beautiful. Her suggestion carried the day. An interesting anomaly was born, and Dearheimer became known as the Mother of BEW-na Vista. To this day long time residents carry on the tradition and say "Bewna Vista". If it is hard for visitors to swallow, it is suggested they just say "BEWNIE".