By Joan Fudala
Temperatures still soar to the triple digits, and winter residents and visitors are still “back home,” but Scottsdale has historically accomplished great things during September. After a summer recess of school and meetings, and vacations to cooler climates, Scottsdalians have traditionally been ready to get a move on after Labor Day.
Consider these September milestones and memories:
ν On a September weekend in 1896, townsfolk hand-built a one-room wooden schoolhouse (plus an outhouse), which served its educational purpose during the week, then hosted ecumenical church services and community events on weekends.
ν After several additions to the wooden schoolhouse, a larger, more permanent structure was needed. In 1909, Scottsdale voters unanimously passed the town’s first school bond issue, $5,000, to fund construction of the Scottsdale Grammar School. Classes began in September 1909; however, the “Little Red Schoolhouse” wasn’t officially dedicated until February 26, 1910 — on Winfield Scott’s birthday.
ν After the U.S. Congress passed the Fourth Liberty Loan Act in July 1918, bond went on sale in September to raise $6 billion for the U.S. Great War effort. Mrs. Mort (Clarice) Kimsey and Charles Miller co-chaired Scottsdale’s Liberty Bond Drive; the town exceeded its quota by raising $19,050. At the government’s request, Scottsdale students were saving plum and apricot pits to be used in soldiers’ gas masks filters.
ν To meet the demands of a growing population, Scottsdale High School was built on Indian School Road in time for the 1922-23 school year, which started after Labor Day. A new, larger Scottsdale Grammar School opened at the southwest corner of Marshall Way and Second Street in 1928 (later renamed Loloma Elementary; now home to the Scottsdale Artists School).
ν Following V-E day in May and V-J Day in August, the U.S. officially ratified the Japanese surrender to the Allies on September 2, 1945. War’s end signaled a population, business and baby boom in Scottsdale that changed the town from a farming and ranching community to a resort destination, arts and cultural center, business hub and thriving residential community.
ν Throughout September 1948, Scottsdale men ages 18 to 25 registered for the draft at the Sipe-Peterson American Legion Post 44 Home on East First Street.
ν The newly incorporated Town of Scottsdale had on its September 11, 1951, Town Council agenda discussions about establishing a criminal ordinance, paving streets and evaluating an offer from Rural Fire Protection Company to provide fire service for Scottsdale.
ν Two TV shows that influenced Americans to think about travel to the West and Arizona premiered in September. Children’s adventure show “Sky King” premiered September 15, 1951, showcasing the fearless aviator and his niece, Penny, flying “Song Bird” from their Flying Crown Ranch in Arizona. Television’s longest-running Western, “Gunsmoke,” premiered September 10, 1955. It starred Scottsdale resident Amanda Blake as “Miss Kitty” Russell. Its final telecast occurred September 1, 1975.
ν Arcadia High School opened September 8, 1959, for its first school year. Coronado High opened for the 1961/62 school year. Saguaro High opened for the 1966/67 school year.
ν Thomas Mall opened at 44th Street and Thomas Road in September 1963.
ν John Woudenberg, who had been elected mayor of Scottsdale in April, resigned September 29, 1964, and was replaced as mayor by Councilman C.W. “Bill” Clayton.
ν Hobo Joe’s opened on the northeast corner of Scottsdale Road and First Avenue in September 1965. Its Hobo Joe “statue” out front was legendary.
ν In a torrential rainstorm, part of the Arizona Canal (at Pima and Granite Reef) collapsed, flooding neighborhoods and cutting the city in half September 12, 1966.
ν The Central Arizona Project, in the works for decades, was finally given the go-ahead for construction by President Johnson. On September 30, 1968, the 90th Congress passed Public Law 537, authorizing the CAP to acquire the Paradise Valley Flood Retention Basin as part of the project. The management plan developed to oversee the CAP established a public recreational use for land making up the detention basins acquired to protect the CAP canal from flooding. Today that area is WestWorld and the McDowell Mountain Golf Course.
ν The Scottsdale City Council held a special Saturday meeting September 27, 1969, to discuss buying a computer to handle the city’s billing and to debate whether to apply for HUD urban renewal funds to benefit the Vista Del Camino neighborhood.
ν In June 1971, the Planned Community Development (PCD) was established. On September 21, 1971, Kaiser-Aetna’s plan for McCormick Ranch was passed as the first application for PCD. During its development, McCormick Ranch launched many firsts for Scottsdale, including developer-paid infrastructure, set-backs and view corridors and walking trails.
ν Scottsdale celebrated the first Grandparents Day September 30, 1973, at City Hall. Scottsdale Daily Progress publisher Jonathan Marshall was credited for initiating the local, statewide and national observance of Grandparents Day.
ν The Civic Center Senior Center opened September 7, 1976. It was closed and replaced by the new 37,500-square-foot Granite Reef Senior Center September 14, 2006, on McDowell Road at Granite Reef.
ν Scottsdale Conference Resort opened in McCormick Ranch on September 4, 1976 (renamed The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch after a major renovation during 2015).
ν On September 14, 1981, the city of Scottsdale was issued a land patent from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for 960 acres deep in the McDowell Mountains with the geographic name listed as Scottsdale Mountain Park. With no road access, it was never used as a city park, but became one of the first parcels dedicated within the McDowell Sonoran Preserve on October 3, 1994.
ν Scottsdale-area resident Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on September 25, 1981.
ν A clause in Scottsdale’s sign ordinance banning neon signs took effect in September.
ν The Scottsdale Charros, the city of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce hosted the Seniors Softball World Series in Scottsdale September 25 to September 30, 1990, attracting teams from throughout the United States and Europe. The event created demand for hundreds of room nights at local resorts and hotels, provided increased business for merchants and positioned Scottsdale to host future such tournaments.
ν In a September 1996 election, Scottsdale voters approved (74% to 26%) the sale of revenue bonds, to be repaid using the existing preservation tax revenues, to expedite land purchases for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
ν Scottsdale voters defeated “Transit Plus,” an initiative to enhance public transit and to build new streets (64% to 36%) in a September 9, 1997, special election.
ν In a September 7, 1999, special election, Scottsdale voters authorized bond sales for the purchase of preserve land, but defeated “The Canals of Scottsdale,” a plan to revitalize the area in and around the Arizona Canal in downtown Scottsdale.
ν In September 1999, Scottsdale and the entire East Valley changed telephone area codes from 602 to 480, recognizing the burgeoning use of telecommunications by business and residents
ν City added Interlaken, Switzerland, to its list of Sister Cities on September 21, 1999.
ν The city of Scottsdale purchased the 800-acre historic Brown’s Ranch in the expanded northern preserve area for $32.5 million after a September 1999 City Council approval (and earlier approval by voters). The land was one of the highest-acquisition priorities for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, based on its relationship to the surrounding State Trust Land, scenic and natural beauty, rich history and access potential.
ν Scottsdale voters considered a $451.7 million bond issue on September 12, 2000; six of nine measures passed, totaling $358.2 million in future city projects.
ν The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania sent Scottsdale and the nation into an economic downturn and onto a warlike footing. To help residents deal with the tragedy of 9/11, the city and Scottsdale Jaycees held a candlelight vigil at Scottsdale Stadium September 13. Residents signed memorial banners to send to New York City and the Pentagon.
ν Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center opened in September 2002 at Scottsdale Road and Sweetwater.
ν The city of Scottsdale opened its CAP Basin Sports Complex September 1, 2005.
ν A stand-alone Arabian Library opened in September 2007 in McDowell Mountain Ranch.
ν After starting up in 1948 and ceasing publication in 2008, the Scottsdale Progress relaunched on Sunday, September 16, 2018, thanks to Steve Strickbine and the Times Media Group. TMG owns the Scottdale Airpark News.
ν September always gives us something to celebrate or solemnly observe: Labor Day, Patriot Day, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, National Hispanic Heritage Month, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the U.S. Air Force’s Birthday, Gold Star Mother’s Day and the first day of autumn (goodbye triple digits soon!).
Go make some September history! ν