Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Origins of Scottsdale

At our October meeting, Jo Ann Handley, shown with Kathleen Fischer (on the left), entertained League members not only by recounting a detail-rich history of Scottsdale's origins, but she added a personal touch. Jo Ann's family dates back to settlement in 1895 and she has literally "lived" through much of Scottsdale's transformation.

Just a few interesting tidbits from her lecture:
  • Winfred Scott paid $2.50 an acre for his land purchase, which is now the area bounded by Scottsdale Road, Hayden, Indian School and Chaparral.
  • The original name of the town was Orangedale.
  • Scott was a Baptist minister so there were no saloons in town, but no churches, either. Services were held in the school basement.
  • The cheapest way to have a house in 1900 was to buy a tent and for many a tent was home.
  • During World War I the U.S. was blocked from importing cotton from Egypt so Pima cotton, first grown over a 1000 years ago by the Hohokam, was planted in Valley fields.
  • Scottsdale Airpark was originally an airbase training station built by Hollywood moviemakers.
The Little Red Schoolhouse in Scottsdale was the first school and it was constructed of sand and gravel from the bed of the Salt River. It was finished in 1910 and the two room building cost $5000. Today it houses The Scottsdale Historical Society.