By Joan Fudala
As Scottsdale entered the new decade of the ’70s, its 68,000 residents had events to enjoy, delicious restaurants to visit, a building boom moving outward and skyward, a strong economy, and a few thorny issues to iron out. Can 1970 really be 50 years ago?
Take a look back, half a century ago:
Richard Nixon was president; Spiro Agnew vice president. Jack Williams was Arizona’s governor; Barry Goldwater and Paul Fannin represented Arizona in the U.S. Senate. Bud Tims was mayor of Scottsdale.
The U.S. Census put Scottsdale’s population at 67,823, living on 62.2 square miles, making it the third largest city in Arizona. The state’s population was 1,775,399. Scottsdale’s annual municipal budget was $7.76 million.
Motorola was Scottsdale’s largest private employer, with some 5,000 workers; Dickson Electronics employed 1,200. A city report stated, “Many smaller companies are engaged primarily in electronics, ceramics, weaving apparel, and aircraft missile components.”
John Gardiner’s Tennis Ranch opened January 31 to the public, a redo of the 1950s vintage Paradise Valley Racquet Club.
On February 25, TWA began B-747 jumbo jet service from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
Throughout March, the Chicago Cubs played their fourth Spring Training season at Scottsdale’s ballpark. Leo Durocher was the team’s manager.
Several new faces joined the Scottsdale City Council. Herb Drinkwater and Billie Axline Gentry were elected in the spring; Dick Campana was appointed to replace Bob Jones, who resigned his seat.
Paolo Soleri began construction of the Arcosanti futuristic community in Cordes Junction.
Throughout the spring, the Arizona Baptist Association contemplated selling Scottsdale Baptist Hospital. After much public input—especially from the medical staff and community leaders—the hospital was turned over to a local board of trustees and became Scottsdale Memorial Hospital (now HonorHealth).
Citizens Jack Karie and Tom Dunlavey helped establish Club SAR (social, athletic, recreational) to provide an outlet for young people to learn responsibility through boxing. In 1986, the city moved Club SAR to facilities at Indian School Park as a full-fledged fitness center.
After holding evening classes at Scottsdale High School its first year, Scottsdale Community College opened in September 1970 on Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community land, initially in portable wooden buildings until permanent structures could be built.
Kaiser-Aetna bought the 4,200-acre McCormick Ranch for $12.1 million from Fowler McCormick and the estate of the late Anne McCormick. City Planning Director George Fretz resigned to become planning director for the new McCormick Ranch master-planned community. During its development, McCormick Ranch launched many firsts for Scottsdale, including view corridors, developer-paid infrastructure and walking trails.
Pueblo School opened (K-8) on the Mohave campus, then moved to its present location in 1971-72 school year.
The historic Adobe House was destroyed by a fire of unknown origin and the water required to put the fire out. Built circa 1896, it was the Blount family home where Scottsdale’s first school classes were taught; a cheese factory; the Adobe House guest ranch; the town’s nonprofit-run civic center; public library; city recreation offices and classrooms; and, finally, a storeroom for the parks department. Another historic property, the Ann Whiting house on the south side of Main Street, was demolished to make way for new businesses. During the time Mrs. Whiting and her late husband Dr. Whiting owned the home, it was the town’s popular physician’s office. It was originally built in 1916 by E.O. Brown, merchant and ranch owner. The fate of the 1909-vintage Little Red Schoolhouse was still up in the air. It was later saved and is now the home to the Scottsdale Historical Museum.
Fountain Hills was founded as a planned community northeast of Scottsdale; developed by Robert P. McCullough. It incorporated as a town in 1989. During its approval phase, many entities opposed it, including neighboring Native American communities and Scottsdale.
Paiute Park opened, north of the Paiute Elementary School on Osborn Road.
The city’s Funmobile was used at neighborhood parties.
Former Scottsdale Police Capt. Hugh Cleary became the city’s first full-time director of data services, helping to usher in the computer age; the city leased “a” computer.
Heavy rains on September 5 caused a break in the Arizona Canal, resulting in a major flood over Labor Day weekend. Residents living in the Indian Bend Wash were evacuated and there was much property damage. The Arizona National Guard and Red Cross assisted victims.
Citizens formed the Committee Against Bisecting Scottsdale (CABS) to object to the proposed East Papago Freeway’s west-east route along McDowell Road. The city and citizens objected to the proposed route, and freeway plan went back to the drawing board.
Son of Godzilla (“Godzilla” was Scottsdale’s pioneering mechanized garbage truck) was featured in the October 14 “My Weekly Reader” (Picture Reader) and distributed to U.S. school children.
Citizens voted down a 1% sales tax increase proposed by the City Council; however, voters approved the city’s purchase of the Indian Bend Water Company.
Ray Korte opened his Chevrolet dealership on the north side of McDowell Road, across from the then-new Los Arcos Mall (and former site of the Gray Madison dealership). In 1980, his daughter, Virginia, and her brother assumed management of the dealership, which eventually closed in the late 1990s.
The New Foundation began helping children with programs and special educational needs.
Betty Crocker’s Tree House restaurant opened (on Scottsdale Road just north of Earll Drive), as did Brothers Two, Bombay Bicycle Club (on Stetson Drive) and The Salt Cellar (on Hayden Road).
The 10-story Arizona Bank building was under construction at Camelview Plaza on Camelback Road at 68th Street.
The City Council approved new criteria for high-rise buildings at its November 18 meeting, limiting buildings to a height of 60 feet.
Scottsdale’s Neighborhood Development Program received HUD funding to develop the Vista del Camino and Civic Center neighborhoods.
Scottsdale citizens participating in a nine-month STEP (Scottsdale Town Enrichment Program) study recommended that the city eliminate high-rise building zoning; establish a series of mini-parks connected by horse trails and erect fewer traffic lights; enact a bed tax to fund tourism; and develop a historical, Western and fine arts museum.
Scottsdale joined the nation in celebrating the inaugural Earth Day on April 22. An op-ed in the Scottsdale Daily Progress ended with, “The idea of a day or a week being dedicated to environment is a good one. Citizens will be educated, and the cause will be popularized. But ultimate success in preserving our natural heritage depends on environmental preservation becoming a full-time effort. It is just as critical as education, defense and scientific research.”
The urban campground at Eldorado Park was dedicated April 23.
Pilots from Arizona Helicopters Inc. returned to their base at Scottsdale Municipal Airport in June after four months flying relief missions in Nigeria and the former Biafra area of Africa.
President Nixon signed a bill lowering the U.S. voting age from 21 to 18.
In July, the Scottsdale Jaycees hosted a month-long “Bowl for the Blind” program at Papago Lanes on Scottsdale Road, purchasing special equipment to enable sight-challenged youth the opportunity to enjoy bowling.
Cali’s restaurant on Main Street provided meals for firefighters battling a wildfire blaze in the Tonto National Forest in July.
Despite June temperatures well above 100 degrees, burglars broke into the Goldwater’s store at Scottsdale Fashion Square, making off with over $12,000 in men’s suits.
In late August, the Scottsdale City Council authorized funds for the Scottsdale Public Library to purchase hardware and software to computerize its book catalog, the beginning of the demise of the card catalog.
Scottsdalians debated issues ranging from building height and density to the route of the East Papago Freeway, sex education and dress codes in Scottsdale schools, teachers’ pay (a salary increase averted a strike), anti-pornography laws, urban renewal projects and many others.
Nationally, we worried over the fate of the Apollo 12 astronauts (yeah, American/NASA ingenuity and bravery), cried over the killing of four Kent State students, had polarized opinions about the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, put up with new airport screening measures after a spate of hijackings, saw the U.S. Post Office become the private U.S. Postal Service, shared disappointment over the failed attempt to free some of the U.S. prisoners of war held in North Vietnam, and looked forward to the lessening of the nuclear war threat as the SALT II talks began.
High schoolers attended Arcadia, Coronado, Scottsdale and Saguaro high schools; a fifth high school was in the planning stage (Chaparral); Judson School in PV was a private school choice.
Signature events included the Parada del Sol parade and rodeo, the Arabian Horse Show and Spring Training.
Fave restaurants included Los Olivos, Pink Pony, Dale Anderson’s, The Buckboard, Lute’s Pharmacy lunch counter, Chez Louis, China Lil’s, Cork & Cleaver, Crystal Pistol, Emperor’s Garden, Enrico’s, El Chorro, Etienne, Farrell’s, Gene’s Broiler Buffet, Hacienda Corral, Handlebar J, Hobo Joe’s, Joe Hunt’s, The Other Place, Polynesian Dairy Queen, Safari Hotel’s coffee shop and Paul Shank’s French Quarter, Sugar Bowl, Sutphen’s BBQ, Trader Vic’s, Vito Scampi’s, Pinnacle Peak Patio, Reata Pass … and dining rooms at all of the hotels and resorts. Yum!
So, how was your 1970?