Arizonans often joke that whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting. Water's value to the state was made evident by the 1934 "war" with California as well as by longstanding disputes with neighboring states over allocation of the Colorado River.…

"Mother and daughter, father and son, may all be found splashing about in the cooling water of the Salt River canal, commonly known as the 'Town Ditch,' almost any evening now. There are regular canal 'beaches' where Phoenicians congregate in great…

Built in 1956, the Hotel Valley Ho never had time for its original grand opening. The rooms filled up far too quickly to bother. And the full bookings continued as tourists came to participate in Scottsdale’s vibrant arts and culture and industrial…

Hitching posts, knotty pine and board-and-batten bedecked storefronts, Western names and stylized architecture are Old Town’s lasting memorials to early Scottsdale’s efforts to craft a unique identity for the town—one that would bring tourists…

Prior to becoming a popular watering hole and part of the set-dressing of Scottsdale’s self-conscious efforts to become “the West’s most Western town,” the building now housing the Rusty Spur Saloon was the Farmers State Bank of Scottsdale.…

Across 19 major-league baseball stadiums in 19 states, are scattered the ashes of former Pink Pony owner, Charlie Briley. Perhaps one of the most well-known fans in the history of American baseball, Briley is largely responsible for bringing the…

Large crowds gathered at Scottsdale Grammar School #2 when it opened in October 1928, just in time for the fall school term. It was an event that deserved a celebration as Scottsdale was quickly growing and the new school was a symbol of the…

The graceful, even beautiful, lines of Scottsdale Grammar School #2 convey a sense of prosperity. Stability seems to be written right into the school’s symmetrical concrete façade. It is a testimony to the optimism of 1928, the year it was…

Scotty’s Blacksmith Shop, established in the late 1920s by E. G. Scott, once stood on the land now occupied by the Sugar Bowl. It was here that the gate to Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic winter home and school, Taliesin West, was forged. As the…

During the 1950s Craftsman Court and Fifth Avenue were the heart of Scottsdale’s robust and vibrant arts scene. This vibrancy was both cause and symptom of Scottsdale’s newly inaugurated status as a glamorous, tourist destination. National…

When the Hotel Valley Ho opened it 1956, it quickly became a playground for Hollywood refugees. James Cagney, Rudy Vallee, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Marilyn Monroe all relaxed under its roof. Like many local resorts, the…

If, as poet Wallace Stevens suggested, “The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream,” then Sugar Bowl founder Jack Huntress was a very important man. He opened the Sugar Bowl on Christmas Eve 1958, a date that seems especially appropriate given…

The hooves of galloping horses echo as they pound across a vast expanse of desert and neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night keep the Hashknife Pony Express from reaching its destination. Every winter since 1958, more than two dozen riders from the…

On March 12, 1956, America met Scottsdale on the pages of LIFE Magazine. Nina Leen’s photographic essay, “Sands of the Desert Turn Gold” introduced the burgeoning Western town, which had been incorporate only 5 years earlier. Here was a place…