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Enjoying the Different Landscape & Climate

sunny 76 °F


The State of Arizona borders Mexico, as you recall, so the culture here is a mix of Mexican and Navajo Indian. In observing people on the street and in the shopping areas one can guess what their lineage might be. Of course, the area has grown so in population that there is a definite mix of cultures. The Navajo Indian Reservation takes up 1/8th of the State in northeastern corner of Arizona bordering Utah to the north and New Mexico to the east.

To review a little history - The Spanish invaded the Aztec territory (of Mexico) in 1521and ruled South America, Central America, Mexico, and California territory for 289 years. During that period the Spanish plundered the Americas of gold & silver taking it back to the Spanish treasury. It was not until 1810 that a Spanish-Mexican war was fought with Mexico declaring independence from Spanish rule. Among the spoils of this war were the territories of California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas. The US was expanding westward and challenged by military action Mexico's claim to these lands.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848 won the US the territories (later becoming States) of CA, NV, AZ, NM, CO. Phoenix was made the Arizona Territorial Capitol.

This starkly beautiful land was mostly desert and unproductive wasteland until the Salt River was dammed up in 1911. The Roosevelt Dam, named for Teddy Roosevelt, provided water for agricultural irrigation thus supporting crop growth. Later, the Colorado & Verde Rivers were tapped for irrigation. To this day, water issues are large between Arizona & California.

Metropolitan Phoenix is made up of about a dozen communities surrounding the city. Places like, Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, Surprise, Sun City, Peoria, Scottsdale to mention most. The area boasts 13 Major League Baseball Spring Training sites, and it supports professional sports teams, like; NBA's Phoenix Suns, NHL's Arizona Coyotes, NFL's Arizona Cardinals, MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks. They also host College Football's Fiesta Bowl at New Year's, Phoenix International Raceway is NASCAR's racing site, and the area has over 300 golf courses. One could say that this is a 'Sports Town". One of the communities is where my friends, Bill & Jenny Aaron live. Their home is in Surprise, AZ in a del Webb community of Sun City Grande. Bill & Jenny invited me to their lovely home on Sunday for dinner and for a tour of their community. The man, Del Webb, was a visionary who built communities out of this desert land. His legacy lives on with del Webb communities throughout the world with a focus on retirement villages. A del Webb community was established 2 yrs. ago just across the parkway from where I live in Florida.

Monday was a State Holiday so the Capitol Building and Museum were closed. As an alternative I drove over to Scottsdale to seen the sites. An affluent community with over 100 Art Galleries and Museums, several districts including Old Town. I took the Trolley Tour to get an overview of the city. Old Town is an old west cowboy district with many horse statues and cowboy artwork. Western wear stores abound along with saloons, eateries, and boutiques. It is colorful, especially after nightfall!

A return to the old State Capitol on Tuesday was a rewarding experience. The Capitol building was completed in 1900 after several 'grandiose' designs where submitted. Arizona was the last of the 'lower 48' to achieve Statehood and its treasury was slim. A conservative design was accepted and the total cost to build it was $135,744.00. The modest dome was of zinc-coated steel, painted a copper color. In due time it was replaced with the 15 ton copper roof of today.

Arizona became a US territory in 1863 and sided with the Confederacy in the Civil War. Union Civil War Generals Zachary Taylor, Winfield Scott (Scottsdale is named for him) were named Territorial Governors after the Civil War, and despite repeated efforts by the Arizona people statehood was denied. It was not until the Spanish-American War of 1898 when Pres. Wm McKinley called for volunteers from the Western states and territories to serve, Arizona saw an opportunity to prove itself worthy of statehood. Several hundred volunteers reported for duty, were trained and shipped to Cuba to the war. That action was the defining moment for acceptance into statehood for Arizona.

The western states of the US all have rich deposits of precious and semi-precious metals. Arizona has little gold deposits but is rich in silver. Its abundant copper deposits rank the state among the richest in the US and the world. The copper roof on the capitol building is a symbol of its wealth in copper.

Arizona's Legislature is composed of 30 State Senators and 60 State Representatives who meet for 100 days each year. Three of its most notable citizens were/are; Barry Goldwater, John McCain, and Sandra Day O'Connor. Justice O'Connor was the first woman Justice of the US Supreme Court.

While at the Capitol there was a protest taking place on the sidewalk. Native Americans were beating their drums protesting some issue in the upcoming election. From there I returned to the Elks Lodge to 'break camp' and head north toward Utah. I got as far as Flagstaff where I will spend the night in a Wal-mart parking lot along with 6-8 other RV'ers. There was a change in elevation from Phoenix (1,086') to Flagstaff (6,910') and a temperature change from 76* in Phoenix to 48* in Flagstaff. Tonight's a blanket night! Tomorrow its on to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

Posted by dixter 19:51 Archived in USA Tagged building capitol phoenix's

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