The Valley of the Sun, which is what the people call Phoenix these days, was not always the large, modern metropolitan area we see today. Today cars line the streets and people dash about for business and recreation as Sky Harbor sees a steady stream of passengers coming to, or going through, Phoenix from all over the world! Yes, the Phoenix of today is an emerging city, growing into the promise of a bright future for those who live, work, and play here.
The natural landscape provides nature-lover with rare chances to enjoy the countryside like no other they will ever find anywhere else in the world! Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak are both not only landmarks, they are famous hiking spots as well And if you ever have the chance to hike these popular mountains’ ways you will likely meet other friendly hikers, like yourself, who could not resist the natural wonder of the area.
Less hiked, but no less beautiful are Estrella Mountain and South Mountain, which is a 12-mile wide chain of mountains that divides the valley from the Sonora desert to the south. Mc Dowell Mountain is a mountain preserve at the north of the valley and the Superstition Mountains in the east. All of these mountains provide a spectacular scenic beauty for the valley.
Located in Maricopa County and the capital of Arizona, Phoenix is the center of almost everything in Arizona- population, government, industry, finance, business, agriculture, fine arts, sports and much, much more.
Now this sparkling image of modern city life is not how things always were and there is a long and exciting history steeped in the lore of the legends of the legendary Old West. What you think of when you think of the western way of life with its rough-and-tumble way of life and hardy individualism is how western life was when Phoenix was young.
Phoenix, during the early days, as a small farming town. In fact, the images that come to mind from those oh-so-long-ago days are probably images of places, real or not, patterned after real-live cities and towns in the vast Arizona desert.
Phoenix is the state capital of Arizona and was incorporated as a city in, 1881. Phoenix is located in central Arizona in the southwestern United States, 118 miles northwest of Tucson. It is Arizona’s largest city and largest metropolitan area by population. It is also the county seat of Maricopa County and the principal city of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Phoenix is appropriately called Hoozdo, or “the place is hot”, in the Navajo language.
The City of Phoenix’s population is over 1.3 million and this makes Phoenix the largest capital city by population in the United States. Phoenix is the sixth-largest city in the United States and it is also the third-largest capital city by area in the U.S.
The 2000 U.S. Census reported the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as the fourteenth largest in the U.S., with a population of 3,251,876. The city’s MSA grew in population to an estimated 3,790,000 in 2004. From 1990 and 2000, the city area grew by 34 percent. This makes it the eighth fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S.
Just as the mountains surround the valley, so there are a number of cities that surround Central Phoenix. In every direction, there are a variety of cities and towns, and each has its own unique history and character. The City of Scottsdale is to the east, the towns of Cave Creek and Carefree to the north, the City of Glendale to the west. Then there is “Arizona’s Golden Corridor”. This is an area that is made up of several cities and towns that winds gradually southward down toward the direction of Tucson.
The closeness to so many other interesting of interest give Phoenix residents a special advantage Central Phoenix dwellers are literally within minutes of most cities and towns located in the Valley of Sun.
So how did this glittering city by the lake get started? And what could life have been like in those early days?
Forward toward the future
Arrival of the railroad in 1887 was the first of several important events that revolutionized the economy of Phoenix. The coming of the railroad in the 1880s caused more growth as travel to, and through, Phoenix was made easier. Merchandise now flowed into the city by rail instead of wagon.
Phoenix became a trade center with its products reaching eastern and western markets Commercial traffic from east to west also saw the growth of the hospitality industry and of other businesses that catered to the needs caused by increased traffic.. In recognition of the increased tempo of economic life, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce was organized.
Two years later Phoenix became the territorial capital. When the construction of the Roosevelt Dam was completed the town’s growth increased. This is because the dam guaranteed a reliable supply of fresh water to support the additional demand caused by the increase in population and farm irrigation.
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Reclamation Act making it possible to build dams on western streams for reclamation purposes. Valley of the Sun residents were quick to supplement this federal action by organizing the Salt River Valley Waters Users’ Association to assure proper management of the precious water supply and to this day it serves as the major agency for controlling the use of irrigation water in the Valley.
In 1911, the Theodore Roosevelt Dam, was built to create the Roosevelt Lake. At the time this dam was the largest masonry dam project in the world and it created expanded irrigation of land in the Valley for farming, and increased the water supply for the steadily growing population.