History Lesson: From Where Did the Name 'Helldorado' Come?

“Helldorado” is the namesake for a variety of brands including artwork, clothing lines, motorcycles, movies, cars, dozens of festivals and even a board and video game. The name might even be a household term, but where does it come from?

To understand the term, we must go back to the Spanish conquistadors who set forth bravely (and recklessly) in search of riches and eternal life. The term “El Dorado,” roughly translated as “covered in gold,” became the fascination of all those searching for better fortune and riches.

Fast forward several centuries to the untamed American West in the mid-18th century.

With vast expanses of unforgiving land, harsh natural elements and a somewhat lawless populace, many explorers and pioneers were looking for a better, easier life. A lucky few were able to find great riches in gold, silver and other precious natural resources. This created a large influx of miners looking for the same, their own personal El Dorado.

Most met with thorough disappointment. One such disgruntled miner in the boomtown of Tombstone, Ariz., decided to write a letter to the Tombstone Nugget newspaper. In July of 1881, he wrote that instead of finding his “Eldorado” of riches, many ended up with menial jobs or backbreaking work, finding instead their own individual “Helldorado.” The paper printed the letter, many people agreed and the term stuck.