Phoenix 1900 to 2003

By 1900, the population of Phoenix had reached 5,554. More social outlets were being promoted, such as the Phoenix Country Club and the Women's Club, which were organized in 1900.

The state Capitol finally got a permanent home when a 10-acre lot was donated at the west end of Washington Street. A building was erected at a cost of $130,000. Gov. Murphy dedicated this building on Feb. 25, 1901. The newspaper reports of this event were set in type by members of the first labor union in Arizona, The Phoenix Typographical Union 352, which came into existence on Feb. 14, 1901.

Growing into a Metropolis

State FlagArizona State Flag.JPG (13567 bytes)
adopted 1917

Arizona's state flag is divided into two halves. The top half consists of thirteen alternating red and yellow rays which represent America's thirteen original colonies.

Because Arizona is a western state, the rays shows a setting sun. The colors of the rays refer to red and yellow in the Spanish flags carried by Coronado when he came to Arizona in the sixteenth century.

The bottom half of the flag is a solid blue field, the same color as the blue in the United States flag.

A large copper colored star is superimposed in the center of the flag. This identifies Arizona as the largest producer of copper in the United States.

With the advent of statehood, Phoenix, as well as Arizona, had come of age. The casual, easy growth that characterized a farming community slowly came to a stop. Phoenix began to grow into a young metropolis. In 1920, Phoenix was no longer a town - it was an important city of 29,053.

Two thousand youngsters were attending Phoenix Union High School in 1920. They would throw each other into Jack Swilling's first canal, which ran through the campus and had become the "Town Ditch." A total of 1,080 buildings went up that year. Among them was Arizona's first skyscraper, the Heard Building.

In those eight years, Phoenix also developed the makings of its first political scandal - the $1,300,000 bond issue of 1919 to build a redwood pipeline from the Verde River to Phoenix. The pipeline was finished in 1920, but never worked too well. Today, the portion of that redwood that isn't still underground serves to form walls for the houses of the Indians living near Fort McDowell.

Feb. 23, 1929. ARIZONA BILTMORE OPENS. The opening of Phoenix's first major resort hotel signals the beginning of tourism as a primary force in the state's economy. The importance of this moment in Arizona history is underlined by the fact that this is also the first day of scheduled airline service between Los Angeles and Phoenix. At a time when Arizona is still struggling for its identity as a new state, the creation of the Biltmore lends the state glamour as a travel destination. It also builds on the state's reputation for having a pleasant and healthful climate. And 1929 is also the first full year of operation for the classy Westward Ho Hotel in downtown Phoenix. In time, the Biltmore will play host to charismatic guests such as Clark Gable, Harpo Marx, Irving Berlin and Marilyn Monroe. In fact, it is later said that Berlin wrote the classic song White Christmas in his room at the Biltmore.

By 1930, the size of Phoenix nearly doubled again with a 48,118 census count. There were 120 miles of sidewalks and 161 miles of streets - 77 with pavement. The public library had 51,000 books, and the police force had 70 men. The budget for the city came to $2,033,886. Another pipeline was built - this time constructed with 48 inches of concrete, which still carries Verde River water to us.

The year 1940 marked another turning point in Phoenix life. The city had gone as far as a farming center and then as a distribution center. When the war hit the United States, Phoenix rapidly turned into an embryonic industrial city. Luke Field, Williams Field and Falcon Field, coupled with the giant ground training center at Hyder, west of Phoenix, brought thousands of men into Phoenix. Their needs, both military and personal, were met in part by small industries in Phoenix.

1941. WORLD WAR II TRAINING SHOWCASES ARIZONA. The state's weather and open space makes it a training area for service people from all over the country, many of whom will return to Arizona after the war to drive explosive growth. Large training bases are built at Kingman, Yuma, Douglas and Marana. Phoenix is ringed with training schools for pilots, including Luke Field, which will become the largest single-engine flying school in the country, and Mesa Military Airport (later Williams Air Force Base), which will become the nation's first training base for jet pilots. Gen. George S. Patton creates the Desert Training Center out of much of southeastern California and western Arizona. The state's sunny weather, open spaces and relaxed lifestyle charm many of the trainees, and the footloose attitudes developed during the war make it natural for many to move to Arizona afterward.

1948. MOTOROLA ARRIVES. High-tech industry, which will become a staple of the state's economy, arrives in Phoenix as Chicago-based Motorola chooses Phoenix for the site of a new research and development center for military electronics. Motorola is attracted by the city's business-friendly attitude, its location within reasonable distance of supply houses in New Mexico and southern California, the potential for engineering programs at Arizona State College (now Arizona State University), and the climate. In time, Motorola will grow and other high-tech jewels such as Intel and McDonnell Douglas will follow Motorola's lead and set up manufacturing operations in the Valley.

When the war ended, many of these men returned to Phoenix, and families came with them. Suddenly thousands of people were wondering what to do for a living. Large industry, learning of this labor pool, started to move branches here. Smaller plants were started by private capital and initiative. Water again began to run out as it had done several times before, but citizens were more fortunate than the Ho Ho Kam who built the first canals and saw them go dry. Phoenix had the greatness of American technology to fall back on. The era commencing with 1940 marked the end of agriculture's role as our chief provider. It was the beginning of a greater prosperity than Phoenix had ever known.

In 1950, 105,000 people lived within the city limits of Phoenix and thousands more lived immediately adjacent to and depended upon Phoenix for their livelihoods. The city had 148 miles of paved streets and 163 miles of unpaved streets, a total of 311miles of streets within the city limits.

1950s. AIR-CONDITIONING SWEEPS STATE. The widespread use of air-conditioning in homes and offices dramatically increases Arizona's "livability" and attractiveness to newcomers. Starting in 1929, when the new Westward Ho Hotel in downtown Phoenix boasted of its air-conditioning, some hotels and offices in Phoenix were mechanically cooled. But now, in the 1950s, air-conditioning really makes its mark, and affordable cooling contributes to a wild building boom. In 1959 alone, Phoenix sees more new construction than in more than three decades from 1914 to 1946.

 1960. SUN CITY OPENS. Del E. Webb Corp. starts Sun City in the northwest Valley, one of the first retirement communities in the nation and one that will help establish the state's reputation for large, sophisticated retirement havens. Afterward, organized retirement living spreads across the state, making its mark with communities that include Sun City West, Sun Lakes, Leisure World and Pebble Creek Golf Resort in the Valley of the Sun, and Sun City Tucson, Saddlebrooke Country Club and Fairfield Homes Green Valley in southern Arizona.

1964. GOLDWATER NOMINATED. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., becomes the Republican nominee for president, imprinting the image of Arizona as a conservative state on the national consciousness. The descendant of a pioneer Arizona family, he personifies the modern Arizonan as a self-reliant straight shooter proud of his independence. Goldwater's rise also tracks the state's historical shift of political power after 1950, when conservative Midwesterners moving to Arizona and home-grown Westerners like Goldwater take power from Democrats who have moved here from Southern states. Though Goldwater is drubbed badly by President Lyndon Johnson in the '64 election, his ability to popularize conservatism leads to a resurgence of traditional values that boosts the candidacy of Ronald Reagan, who is elected president in 1980.

1966. ONE-MAN, ONE-VOTE SHAKES UP ARIZONA. The 1966 elections, following the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark one-man, one-vote ruling, mark the last stage in the transfer of state political power from rural Democrats to city-dwelling Republicans. Before this, state senators have been apportioned by area, rather than population. Sparsely populated rural counties dominated by Democrats were able to hold their own against the urban Maricopa and Pima counties. Before reapportionment, Maricopa and Pima combined had more than a million residents, but only four state senators, while the 12 rural counties had a total of less than half a million residents and 24 senators. In 2002, there are 30 state senators, and 23 of them are elected largely from metropolitan Phoenix and Tucson.

1968. CENTRAL ARIZONA PROJECT APPROVED. The water supply of Phoenix and Tucson and the agricultural corridor between them is assured when President Johnson signs a bill approving the construction of the Central Arizona Project, which will bring water from the Colorado River to central Arizona. Approval of the CAP crowns decades of struggle by Sen. Carl Hayden, D-Ariz., aided by congressional allies such as Sen. Paul Fannin, R-Ariz., to make sure central Arizona won't run dry. Fannin and Rep. John Rhodes, R-Ariz., are credited with keeping construction funds for the CAP flowing after it is approved. In 1985, the first CAP water reaches Maricopa County.

1981. O'CONNOR NAMED TO U.S. SUPREME COURT. President Ronald Reagan chooses Arizona Court of Appeals Judge Sandra Day O'Connor to be the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. She joins fellow Arizonan William Rehnquist, giving the state the prominence in national legal circles that it already has in national politics because of leaders such as Goldwater and Hayden.

2001. HISPANICS SPUR ARIZONA'S GROWTH. In the 1990s, Hispanics in Arizona log a growth rate of 88 percent, serving as the driving force in the state's 40 percent growth rate in the decade, according to U.S. census figures released on March 27, 2001. The dramatic increase in the Hispanic population, which now accounts for 1.3 million of the state's 5.1 million people, underlines the need for the state to deal with the aspirations of a large minority population. All minorities in the state now account for 36 percent of the population, up from 28 percent a decade before. Arizona, always a diverse state, faces a future in which cultural variety is even more likely to reshuffle political alliances and social concerns.

Arizona Mineral and Mining Museum Foundation. The Foundation was formed in 1962 with the goal of establishing a mineral museum in the Phoenix area. Through the dedication and hard work of its members, a world class collection of minerals is now on permanent display in downtown Phoenix. (Northwest corner of Washington and 15th Avenue)

Virtual  Tour of AZ Mining and Mineral Museum

A large piece of the USS Arizona battleship is on display at the Capitol Museum

I like to think Jack Swilling, Darrel Duppa and the early pioneers of this valley are sitting somewhere in Heaven smiling.  They should be.

Map of Arizona.jpg (55174 bytes)

Map of Arizona


The rez.jpg (39886 bytes)

Map of the reservations and Four Corners 


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