Arizona gets its share of national headlines airing the dirty laundry of scandals, scoundrels and silly things that plague our state and city. So how about some good news for a change … particularly national news media coverage about our historically great people, good ideas and stellar events that all take place in Scottsdale’s spectacular natural setting.
Consider just a few of Scottsdale’s historic national good news headlines:
- During the time that Thomas Marshall was vice president of the United States (under President Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921), he and his wife, Lois, had a winter home on Indian School Road, right across from Lois’ parents, the Kimseys. Newspapers in their home state of Indiana, as well as national publications, often mentioned when they were in Scottsdale.
- New York writer and novelist Clarence Budington Kelland first visited Arizona in 1936 while on assignment for the Saturday Evening Post to write about trailer life. Enamored by the desert and the Scottsdale area, he moved his family here the following year and continued to write short stories for American Boy, American Magazine, Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Country Gentleman, as well as Arizona Highways and The Arizona Republic. His novels, short stories and travel articles glamorized Western lifestyle, scenery and spirit of adventure, and Kelland developed a fan following, particularly among men and young boys.
- Former First lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited the Arizona Craftsmen Center on Main Street in Scottsdale in 1946 and 1947. She was impressed with the variety of artists and craftspeople working at the center—Lloyd Kiva, Wes Segner, Sandy Sanderson, Mathilde Shaefer Davis and Lew Davis, to name a few. She wrote about them in her nationally syndicated newspaper column, “My Day,” giving a boost to Scottsdale’s reputation as an arts and crafts center. (Want to read them? Visit www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/documents/myday/search.)
- The Desert Magazine’s December 1948 edition featured “The Artists of Scottsdale.” Christine MacKenzie wrote, “Shiny station wagons and limousines from guest ranches share parking space with western buckboards and Indian wagons from nearby reservations at Scottsdale, Arizona. Visitors stroll through the town where store fronts are faced with Ponderosa knotty pine, and rustic roofs supported by peeled pine poles extend over the sidewalk. And one of the chief attractions of this picturesque community near Phoenix is the Arizona Craftsmen building.”
- Harper’s Bazaar sent its top fashion models to Scottsdale in January 1951 to participate in a Goldwater’s/Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce/Southern Pacific Railroad-sponsored fashion show right on Main Street. One edition also featured the Sunset Pinks fashions, using Scottsdale as a scenic backdrop for models.
- “Scottsdale, Arizona: New Look for the Old West” ran in the February 1954 issue of Ford Times, a monthly distributed to owners of Ford vehicles. Writer Vance Locke penned: “I found the town, which is in Paradise Valley, just outside of Phoenix, extremely friendly and easy-going, with an unassuming, casual, old-style western exterior covering a very business-like, cultural core. All the people I met in Scottsdale appeared to be going about the business of enjoying life in a leisurely way.”
- LIFE magazine’s March 12, 1956, “Sands of Desert Turn Gold: Southwest’s Boom Enriches Scottsdale” article was a turning point in America’s awareness of our tiny town. Through words and photographs, readers were enticed by an exotic outdoor Western lifestyle available here. LIFE’s July 6, 1953, issue also drew attention to Scottsdale’s trendsetting fashion industry; Lloyd Kiva and Jerome of Arizona’s broomstick skirts were featured.
- TV Radio Mirror magazine’s February 1959 issue ran “Scottsdale: Old and New West,” promoting the filming of the television series “26 Men” at Cudia City. The photo spread showed series star Tris Coffin and his wife, Vera, shopping in downtown Scottsdale and signing autographs. Several years later, when “The Dick Van Dyke Show” was taped at Carefree Studios, he and co-star Hope Lange graced the cover of the Oct. 9, 1971, TV Guide. Inside was a feature, “Squire of Cave Creek: He’s now back in television over at Carefree, which is a pretty good description of his way of life.”
- Saturday Evening Post’s Dec. 3, 1960, issue lured readers with this headline: “The Town Millionaires Built: Scottsdale, Arizona, is a dazzling Western town full of culture, offbeat enterprises and money, money, money.” The feature included photos of Parada del Sol, artists and craftspeople, Taliesin West, Arabian horses and a home on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
- Liz Smith wrote a golf feature in the Jan. 16, 1967, Sports Illustrated, entitled “The Desert is Arizona’s Ocean: the air, the sun and a horde of swinging resorters have turned the playgrounds near Scottsdale from sedentary retreats into places as active as any in the Caribbean.”
- Scottsdale was the first city in the country to mechanize its garbage collection when “Godzilla” the garbage truck premiered in 1969. Schoolchildren throughout American saw the mechanical-armed beast “Son of Godzilla” in the Oct. 14, 1970, issue of My Weekly Reader.
- Since its first spring training season in February-March 1956, Scottsdale Stadium has hosted the greats of baseball radio and television broadcasting, covering the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants. For the past four seasons, Salt River Fields on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community has hosted the play-by-play commentators of the Diamondbacks and Rockies. Broadcasters’ banter always includes comments about the fabulous Scottsdale weather, golf, local watering holes and other pro-Scottsdale subjects. For example, the March 17, 1986, Sports Illustrated included a feature by Ron Fimrite: “In the Spring, the Boys of Summer Make the Pink Pony Their Hangout.”
- Mike Wallace interviewed Mayor Bill Jenkins and Lou Witzeman in Scottsdale for the CBS news program “60 Minutes.” The segment, airing in November 1978, focused on the partnership between Rural Metro and the city for fire protection.
- In April 1995, an NBC television news crew came to Scottsdale to cover the first preservation tax vote, speaking with proponents Mayor Herb Drinkwater and Wendy Springborn and opponent Mark Frick. The segment aired nationally in mid-May, prior to the May 23 election in which Scottsdale voters approved a sales tax increase to fund purchases for the newly created McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Since then the creation, expansion and accessibility of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve has been featured in numerous national publications. For example, the May 2002 issue of Sunset Magazine carried an article by Nora Burba Trulsson: “Preserving the McDowells: A decade-old dream to protect Scottsdale’s dwindling open space is finally becoming a reality. Lace up your boots.”
- Scottsdale has been portrayed in a positive light during sports coverage of all kinds, often showing Scottsdale’s fabulous winter weather and scenery when most of the United States was freezing and blanketed in snow. ESPN broadcast live during Super Bowl week 2008 from an outdoor studio at Southbridge, the south bank of the Arizona Canal.
- Mayo Clinic and Scottsdale Healthcare have been featured in the national news media for their breakthrough research and clinical trials and for treating famous patients. Scottsdale Healthcare’s Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center was one of the original “Dream Team” sites featured during the Stand Up to Cancer telethon.
So who says news about Scottsdale and Arizona always casts us in a bad light? Just remember our history of great headlines and headliners.
Joan Fudala is a Scottsdale-based community historian and author. Contact: email@example.com.