History of Scottsdale

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Scottsdale is known locally as "The Wests Most Western Town," due to the cultural flavor of the old west that permeates the areas past. Historical roots of this area run deep into agriculture; many still applaud the ingenuity of the MesoAmerican people who first developed it. Currently the major draw of this area is the climate, which lends a perfect environment for year round vacationers and golf addicts.

Prior to written history, the Hohokam farmed this area, from about 300-1500 AD. These resourceful people built a unique irrigation system that included more than 200 miles of complex canals, some of which are still in use today. Believed to have originated from Mexico, the Hohokam traveled to the Central Arizona area sometime around 300 AD; settling the region into a healthy sized agricultural community. Progressive farming techniques afforded this ingenious group the opportunity to support a larger then normal sized community for that time period.

Around 1500 AD, this group appears to have mysteriously faded, then vanished for reasons that remain unclear. The local Pima Indians, appropriately referred to these industrious and intelligent people as the Hohokam, which, when translated, means "Vanished Ones." Theories have arisen regarding their disappearance; plausible explanations include plague or drought.

Various indigenous people have continued to draw from the land since recorded history. Water is still the areas most precious resource, and many irrigation canals can be found winding through the city. These open canals are inviting, but dangerous and should never be used for swimming or wading.

Early European settlers found the area enchanting, and many continued the farming tradition. The founder of Scottsdale, Winfield Scott, moved to the area on the advice of his brother who had relocated with his wife to the Valley of the Sun due to health concerns. The two brothers farmed together, producing peanuts, sweet potatoes and citrus.

Low humidity levels and low pollen counts brought many here in the early years that had allergies or other chronic ailments. As the population grew, the need for more services arose. In 1896, the first school appeared, in a one-room schoolhouse. Fewer than 2000 people lived in this farming community at that time.

More people began visiting and relocating to the area, enjoying the clean air and abundant spaces. J.L. Davis opened the first retail store in 1897 in order to serve the needs of the people. Shoppers would find a post office and general merchandise within, at the corner of Brown and Main.

The advent of World War I brought with it a demand for the long fibered Pima cotton produced by Scottsdale farmers. In 1920 a cotton gin was built at Brown and Second Street to process this resource. More services and jobs continued the influx of new residents throughout the early years.

Nature and civilization have found a happy union in this gracious land. Wildlife may be found in abundance here; the concept of a dry, barren desert simply does not hold true in this lovely place. You will be surprised to find colorful plants and prolific animals living year round in the temperate climate. Don't be surprised to see a coyote or a quail mother with young scoot across the road in front of you.

Maybe its in the subtle continuity of the spacious vistas, or the natural order of the desert wildlife. Whatever the attraction, many designers and artists are drawn to this area like hummingbirds to nectar. Among them have been characters of renown, including the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright and Paolo Soleri.

Frank Lloyd Wrights Taliesin West was an extension of Frank Lloyd Wrights Wisconsin institution, a school of architecture like no other; utilizing his own teaching techniques and indigenous materials. The first students assisted in the building of Taliesin West in 1937, and education continues today.

Coveted the world over for utilitarian style and progressive, modern designs, visitors continue to awe at the inspirational work of Taliesin craftsmen through tours and special events. View nearby samples of the masters artistry at the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium in Tempe, or the First Christian Church in Phoenix. Frank Lloyd Wrights love of the area may have inspired he and his wife to design the model Broadacre City, a spatially integrated living community.

Currently building upon the integrated living idea is Paolo Soleri and his talented students. Paolo Soleri is an artist and designer who currently pursues his dream on a higher plane in the upper Sonoran Desert. The creator of a concept called "Arcology" has been building a conceptualized community named "Arcosanti" with the proceeds from the sale of his famous Cosanti bells that he has been producing since the 50s. Cast in desert sands, these gorgeous bells now ring around the world due to their clarity of sound and unusual design.

The 40s brought World War II and a need for pilots, so a training facility was built in the location that is currently the Scottsdale Airport. More than 5000 pilots were trained in the Thunderbird 11 Primary Training Facility by the end of the war.

Incorporated in 1951, Scottsdales popularity as a vacationing oasis has since increased substantially. Elected mayor Malcolm White first coined the well-known phrase calling Scottsdale "The Wests most Western town." Catering to both leisure and business travelers, the community successfully found ways to balance both the need to preserve the past while ensuring a successful future.

Ideal conditions in the area attracted ball players for spring training, including the Baltimore Orioles who played in the new Scottsdale Stadium built in 1955. This tradition is carried on today, with multiple teams, including the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland As, training under Arizonas sunny skies.

Signage restraints have been imposed upon the Scottsdale business community since the 60s. The result of these restrictions are quite obvious to the visitor, open spaces are better appreciated without skyscrapers or overbearing signage to obstruct the valleys breathtaking views.

In 1987, Scottsdale hosted the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament which remains one of the most attended tournaments worldwide. Temperate, dry area conditions are highly conducive to the sport of golf. Enthusiasts gather here at many world-class facilities to hone their skill. Scottsdale and the immediate surrounding area offers more than 170 golf courses to choose from.

Visitors from all walks of life find Scottsdale a premier destination. Echoes of the past remind of the pioneering efforts of many through the subtle Western undertones and architectural style. Top-notch resorts, galleries, restaurants and events lend credibility to the forward thinking leaders of this community. Scottsdale is a city which focuses on its future by remembering its roots.