About 10, 000 a. C. (before the common era). Learn about the early history of our city on this page, whose text is excerpted from the publication Out of the Ashes by the Office of Communication.
You can also download a PDF version. Hundreds of years before any of the cities in the eastern part of our country became clearings in the desert, a civilized and well-established community occupied the land we know as Phoenix. The ruins of Pueblo Grande, which were occupied between 700 AD, D. And 1400 A.D.
The wide Salado River crossed the Valley of the Sun, but there was little rain and no snow was melting to moisten the brown soil from the river to the mountain range on both sides. These former residents were hardworking, entrepreneurial, and imaginative. They built an irrigation system, consisting mainly of about 135 miles of canals, and the land became fertile. However, the ultimate fate of this ancient society is a mystery.
The accepted belief is that it was destroyed by a prolonged drought. Wandering Indians, looking at the ruins of Pueblo Grande and the vast canal system these people left behind, gave them the name of Ho Ho Kam, the people who left. The modern history of Phoenix begins in the second half of the 19th century. In 1867, Jack Swilling, from Wickenburg, stopped to rest his horse at the foot of the northern slopes of the White Tank Mountains.
He looked down and across the vast Salado River valley, and his eyes caught the rich glow of the dry, brown earth raised by the horse's hooves. He saw farmland, predominantly free of rocks, and in a place out of reach of heavy frost or snow. Returning to Wickenburg, he organized the Swilling Irrigation Canal Company and moved to the valley. That same year, the company began digging a canal to divert part of the water from the Salt River to the lands of the Valley.
In March 1868, water was flowing through the canal and some members of the company reaped scant crops that summer. By 1868, a small colony had formed approximately four miles east of the current city. Swilling Mill became the new name of the area. It was then changed to Helling Mill, after which it was renamed Mill City and, years later, East Phoenix.
Swilling, who had been a Confederate soldier, wanted to name the new settlement Stonewall in honor of Stonewall Jackson. Others suggested the name Salina, but neither suited the inhabitants. It was Darrell Duppa who suggested the name Phoenix, as the new city would emerge from the ruins of an ancient civilization. That is the accepted derivation of our name.
Phoenix was officially recognized when the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, of which we were then a member, formed a polling station here. A post office was established in Phoenix on June 15, 1868, with Jack Swilling as postmaster. The sharp whistle of the Valley's first steam mill added an energetic note to the sound of the emerging industry. It advertised the Richard flour mills, built in 1869, where the Luhrs Tower is now located.
The rapid influx of pioneers continued, and by 1870, it was clear that an urban site had to be selected. Perry was selected by a majority vote to be the city's commissioners. Alsap acted as president and captain. Hancock was also a surveyor, and he made the first study of the city and plotted the lots and the city.
This first Phoenix city was one mile long, half a mile wide, and contained 96 blocks. Washington Street was the main street and, on the first maps, it showed that it was 30 meters wide. East and West Streets are named after our presidents. Washington Street was placed in the center and Adams, who was the second president, was given the first street to the north.
Our third president, Jefferson, named the first street south of Washington. And the pattern continued, one to the north and the other to the south, until recent years. North-South streets originally bore Indian names, but were changed in favor of easier to remember numbers, with streets east of Central Avenue and avenues to the west. The first store building to be erected in the new city was Hancock's Store, a general store opened in July 1871 by William Smith.
The adobe structure was built on the northwest corner of First and Washington Streets and served as the town hall, county offices, and general meeting place for the first Phoenixes. Although several religious organizations had been formed in 1870, the first church building erected in Phoenix was the Central Methodist Church. It was built in 1871 on the corner of Second Avenue and Washington Street. Yavapai County was divided in February.
The state's sixth county, Maricopa, ceded parts in 1875 and 1881 to help form Pinal and Gila counties, respectively. The first county elections were held in 1871, when Tom Barnum was elected Maricopa County's first sheriff. As a matter of historical interest, a shooting between two other candidates for office, J. Chenowth and Jim Favorite resulted in Favorite's death and Chenowth's withdrawal from the race.
By 1875, there were 16 taverns, four dance rooms, two mountain banks, and a lighthouse table in Phoenix. However, the form of government of municipal commissioners was not working well. In a mass meeting held in court last October. John Smith went on to be the president of the trustees and Charles W.
In 1880, Phoenix had a population of 2,453, a school enrollment of 379 students, an ice factory and a new brick sidewalk in front of the Tiger Saloon. In 1886, one of the first power plants in the West was installed in Phoenix. It was a steam plant with boilers fueled with mesquite wood. That same year, Phoenix Fire Engine Company Number 1 was organized.
It was made up of a group of volunteers who served the city for many years. July 4, 1887 would have been just another Independence Day if that day had not seen the first South Pacific train arrive from Maricopa Wells. This had been a highly anticipated event. Twenty years had passed since Phoenix, like its legendary namesake, rose from the ashes of a bygone community.
The 1890s showed more signs of the heights to which this city would one day rise. The Arizona Republic became a daily newspaper in 1890, with Ed Gill as editor. In those days, none of the large reservoirs north of the Valley had been created to control the flow of water to the Valley. The year 1891 was marked by the greatest flood in the history of the Valley, as well as by the arrival of the first telephone system in Phoenix.
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Recovery Act, allowing dams to be built in western streams for recovery purposes, an important event for the people of Phoenix and the Valley. Valley residents were quick to supplement this federal action by organizing the Salt River Valley Water Users Association on February 4, 1903, to ensure proper management of the precious water supply. This organization continues to function as the main agency for the controlled use of irrigation water in the Valley. This was an auspicious step in the state's history, and the following year, the city of Phoenix took an equally important one.
In a special election on October 11, 1913, the people of Phoenix, by nearly two votes in favor and one against, ratified a new charter. The charter gave Phoenix the council-administrator form of government. Thus, Phoenix became one of the first cities in the nation to adopt this progressive form of government. Phoenix has the kind of statute that grants autonomy to a city, but it's not autonomy in the full sense of the word.
Courts have ruled that if the Legislature passes a law affecting cities and towns, the court determines whether the law is in a state or municipal or local interest. If the law is in the state's interest, it is binding on the city of Phoenix, even if it contravenes some provision of the charter. Magistrate: The year 1940 marked another turning point in Phoenix's life. The city had reached an agricultural center and then as a distribution center.
When the war hit the United States, Phoenix quickly became an embryonic industrial city. Luke Field, Williams Field and Falcon Field, along with the gigantic land-based training center in Hyder, west of Phoenix, drew thousands of men to Phoenix. Their needs, both military and personal, were met in part by Phoenix's small industries. When the war ended, many of these men returned to Phoenix and their families accompanied them.
Suddenly, thousands of people were wondering what to do for a living. Large industry, upon learning about this workforce, began to move branches here. Smaller plants were created thanks to private capital and initiative. The water ran out again as it had done several times before, but the citizens were luckier than the Ho Ho Kam, who built the first canals and saw them dry up.
Phoenix had the greatness of American technology to rely on. The era that began in 1940 marked the end of the role of agriculture as our main supplier. It was the beginning of greater prosperity than Phoenix had ever known. In 1950, 105,000 people lived within the city limits of Phoenix and thousands more lived immediately next to Phoenix and were dependent on it for their livelihood.
The city had 148 miles of paved streets and 163 miles of unpaved streets, a total of 311 miles of streets within the city limits. The men who, in 1914, changed the government system to that of councilors and administrators, hoped that this would provide better municipal government. However, their hopes had not come true. A long succession of administrators, almost one a year, had indicated that the Council placed political favor before the task of managing a city efficiently.
In November 1948, people voted to strengthen the position of the city manager in the municipal government. This change, in addition to increasing the number of Council members to seven, seemed to put the city in a position to move forward with a form of government operable as a municipal administrator. The Council, then in power, elected its own administrator and continued to govern the administrative field. In 1949, people, tired of this continuous abuse, elected an entirely new list of Council members, including the Council's first female member, Margaret Kober (Mrs.
Perhaps the development of Phoenix since 1950 has been the most spectacular of all. Keep in mind that at the time, Phoenix had an area of 17.1 square miles and a population of 106,000, placing it 99th among American cities. Today, the city covers more than 500 square miles and has a population of more than 1.4 million, making it sixth in the country. While Phoenix is the corporate and industrial center of the Southwest, it hasn't forgotten its past.
It has retained its long-standing reputation for the kindness and concern of its citizens for each other and for their government. This has been witnessed by the National Civic League, which four times since 1950 selected Phoenix as an American city in competition with hundreds of other cities and towns across the country. The hallmark of an American city is the extent to which its private citizens are involved in the functioning of its government. Thousands of citizens have been part of various municipal committees, boards and commissions to ensure that important decisions benefit the people.
The work of the council, city staff and numerous citizen volunteers has earned Phoenix great recognition over the years, both nationally and internationally. Visit our awards website to learn more about the city's recognition. Blessed with energetic and interested citizens willing to dedicate their time to solving enormous growth problems, Phoenix is facing an era of unlimited development. As long as people have vision, the past will be nothing more than a prologue to what is to come.
Barney, Arizona historian, and Barry M. Goldwater, former Phoenix City Councilmember and member of the U.S. UU. Senator, prepared history for the 1951 Phoenix City Code.
Jack Williams, former city councilman, mayor and governor, updated it for the 1962 Code. Photographs by SRP, Bob Rink, and the Herb and Dorothy McLaughlin collection. In addition, from the Department of Archives and Manuscripts, University Libraries, Phoenix Elementary School District, and Arizona State University (all others). They described Goldwater as a dangerous extremist in a flurry of campaign speeches and television commercials that evoked images of a nuclear war.
The City Clerk's Office manages the City of Tucson's Campaign Finance Program and is responsible for archiving nomination documents and campaign finance reports for the City of Tucson. .