History of Scottsdale

Current day Scottsdale is a thriving city that enjoys golf, work, life and desirable real estate. There are many things to keep the mind occupied. It wasn’t always this way. Here is the story of Scottsdale.

800 – 1400 A.D. The Hohokam people thrived in and farmed the area now known as Scottsdale. They built over 200 miles of ingeniously engineered canals to support their agricultural lifestyle using the only tools they had available – sharp, wooden digging sticks; hand-held hoes made from thin rock slabs; and hand-shovels fashioned out of broken pieces of pottery.

1888 U.S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott paid $2.50 an acre for a 640 acre section of land in what is now Scottsdale. In December, 1888, Scott’s brother, George Washington Scott, became the first resident of the future town. By February, 1889, he had cleared the land, dug irrigation ditches, and planted 80 acres of barley, a 20-acre vineyard, and a seven-acre citrus orchard. Upon his retirement from the Army in 1893, Winfield Scott returned to area to join his brother. Future crops planted by Winfield Scott included citrus and other fruits, peanuts, and sweet potatoes.

1894 The name of the town was changed from Orangedale to Scottsdale, beating out other suggested names including Utleyville (after banker Albert G. Utley) and Murphyville (for contractor William J. Murphy).

1909 The “Little Red Schoolhouse” was built for a student body of 32 pupils. Today, the “Little Red Schoolhouse” is home to the Scottsdale Historical Society.

1910 Cavalliere’s blacksmith shop, located at 2nd Street and Brown Avenue in downtown, opened for business. It is likely Scottsdale’s oldest, continuously operating business. Today, in addition to more traditional smithing functions, Cavalliere’s specializes in ornamental iron work.

1920 A cotton gin opened at 2nd Street and Brown Avenue to process Scottsdale-grown Pima cotton, which was in great demand during World War I.

1922 The town’s first newspaper, The Scottsdale Bulletin, was published by playwright Roy George.

1927 The adobe home of artist Jessie Benton Evans’ son and daughter-in-law becomes the Jokake Inn, the first resort in the Scottsdale area.

1937 World-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright purchased some homestead land in Scottsdale and started his architectural school and winter retreat, Taliesin West.

1947 The Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce was reactivated. Silversmith Wesley Segner was elected as the chamber’s first president. Originally organized in 1921, the chamber had been defunct since the depression.

1951 The Town of Scottsdale was incorporated as a city and Malcom White was elected mayor. At the time of incorporation, Scottsdale consisted of one square mile and had a population of 2,000.

1953 The Scottsdale Jaycees took over the annual Sunshine Festival and renamed it the Parada del Sol (Spanish for “walk in the sun”). The Parada del Sol parade has since become world-famous as the longest horse-drawn parade. Rodeo events were added to the Parada del Sol celebration in 1956. In 1958, the Hashknife Pony Express began making its annual 200-mile relay ride from Holbrook, Arizona, to Scottsdale. The riders, members of the Navajo County Sheriff’s Posse, carry specially postmarked mail over the grueling, mountainous trail. The Parada del Sol parade and rodeo is still held every year in late January (and always includes a special mail delivery by the Hashknife Pony Express).

1956 A Life magazine article called Scottsdale “one of the most desirable communities in the West.” This endorsement helped contribute to the city’s boom in population and building.

1958 Jack Huntress converted an auto repair store into a soda fountain-restaurant called the Sugar Bowl. This delightful eatery is still operated by the Huntress family and is a popular stop for visitors and residents alike (be sure to bring your sweet tooth!).

1960 Scottsdale’s census data puts the population at 10,026 in the city’s land area of 3.8 square miles.

1969 The City of Scottsdale created “Godzilla,” the world’s first successful automated residential trash collection truck.

1970 The Scottsdale census reported a population of 67,823; the city’s land area had expanded to just over 68 square miles.

1970 The Indian Bend Wash greenbelt project began, creating parks, lakes and recreation areas, as well as providing innovative flood control.

1970 Scottsdale Community College opened. The school was built on land leased from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

1973 The Scottsdale ArtWalk began. Today, this event takes place every Thursday evening in the downtown arts districts from 7:00p.m. to 9:00p.m..

1987 The Phoenix Open moved to Scottsdale’s Tournament Players Club. Today it is the most-attended PGA golf tournament in the world.

1988 Scottsdale’s centennial year reported a population of 126,000 people. The city encompassed 183.4 square miles.

1993 The City of Scottsdale was awarded the Most Livable City Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

2000 Present-day Scottsdale is a thriving Southwester n city with the luxurious amenities of the new west and all the charm of the old west. Explore the rest of our site for a taste of today’s Scottsdale!

City of Scottsdale Official Website