June 2021

A partnership among Scottsdale Neighborhood College, Scottsdale Public Library and the Scottsdale Historical Society to provide information, news and resources about Scottsdale history.
Celebrate Scottsdale's 70th anniversary of incorporation!

The city is hosting several family-friendly events and invites the public to join in on the fun and learn about Scottsdale history. Activities include taking a retro ride through seven decades; participating in a Legacy Quest expedition; viewing photos and memorabilia; and helping donate 70 pints of blood in honor of our 70th year. Get all the details.

From 2-3 p.m. on June 23, at the Civic Center Library auditorium, 3839 N Drinkwater Blvd., join community historian Joan Fudala as she shares photos and describes points of pride that residents, city officials and staff have created through teamwork and innovation. Mayor David Ortega will be at the program. It will also be available on the library's YouTube channel later in the month. If you plan to attend in-person, please register.

Children Wish Scottsdale a Happy 70th Birthday!

The library's youth services department offered a chance for children to bring a handmade 70th birthday card for the city and get a cute plush Scott the dog as a gift in return.

Cards collected at all four branches were hung in a special display at the Civic Center Library in the Copper Gallery through the end of June and beginning of July.

Stop by the Copper Gallery in the lower level of the Civic Center Library (near the auditorium) to see all the birthday cards made by Scottsdale's youth!

Scottsdale history classes on Scottsdale Neighborhood College

For more than a year, Scottsdale Neighborhood College has presented classes virtually using the Zoom platform. While this allowed us to provide the classes safely during the pandemic, it wasn't the best for audience participation and questions.

It is our plan to present the fall session of Scottsdale Neighborhood College as hybrid classes where 50% capacity will be allowed in person and the rest can watch using Zoom. For example, the Mustang Library auditorium seats around 130 people, so the Library would let us seat 65 people and the rest could watch on Zoom.  

We will know more in August, so check the Neighborhood College webpage for updates. And if you would like to watch some of the virtual presentations, go to the Scottsdale History YouTube channel. 

The Scottsdale Historical Society looks back 70 years

Imagine a time when:

  • The population of Scottsdale was 2,032 residents.
  • There were stop signs, but no traffic lights.
  • The town Marshall was also the electrical inspector and building inspector and he had no deputies.
  • The northern boundary of Scottsdale was Camelback.
  • The southern boundary of Scottsdale was Osborn.

If you can imagine it, then you remember 70 years ago when Scottsdale was first incorporated on June 25, 1951. Things have changed over the years and the Scottsdale Historical Society has been there to document our growth and changes.  

You can find out more about the history of Scottsdale at the Scottsdale Historical Society. The Scottsdale Historical Society operates the historical museum located in the Little Red Schoolhouse near Brown Avenue in the Old Town area. Although currently closed, when they re-open they will need volunteers to serve as docents. This involves about four hours of time, generally once a month, and is a great opportunity to meet visitors from all across the country as well as all over the world and to introduce them to Scottsdale. Learn about the Scottsdale Historical Society.

(Photo courtesy of the Scottsdale Historical Society)

Famous Alumnus

Can you guess who is this famous alumnus of a Scottsdale high school?

This Scottsdale area graduate was born in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, but considers Scottsdale his home. After high school, he went on to a distinguished military career and then really soared into the stratosphere! His career was out of this world! He wrote more than 150 scholarly articles, taught in universities, and was a highly decorated pilot. 

Scroll down to see the answer!


(Photo credit: Ancestry.com U.S. School Yearbooks 1900-1999.)

Milestones and Memories opens at Scottsdale Public Library

Opening to the public on June 25, in the Scottsdale Heritage Connection at Civic Center Library: Milestones and Memories: Celebrate the past 35 years of Scottsdale's evolution as a dynamic, diverse, and desirable destination and hometown.

Images in the exhibit portray just some of the milestones in recent Scottsdale history, selected to evoke memories for residents and visitors alike. Photographs are paired with insightful comments by Scottsdale Leadership graduates or recipients of Scottsdale Leadership's Drinkwater Community Leadership Award; each 'quotable' has been involved in helping create or carry on the milestone projects as community volunteers or business/civic leaders.

"Milestones and Memories" is presented by Scottsdale Leadership, in commemoration of the organization's 35th anniversary in 2021, and also salutes the city of Scottsdale's 70th Anniversary of incorporation (June 25). The exhibit will be open for viewing during the Library's regular hours

(Photo courtesy of the Scottsdale Leadership)  

The Movie Theatre from 70 years ago

If you were in Scottsdale in 1951, you probably went to the then three year old Tee-Bar-Tee movie theatre on the south side of Main Street between Scottsdale Road and brown Avenue. The theatre was opened by Malcom White in 1948, who would later serve as Scottsdale's first mayor. 


The Tee-Bar-Tee Movie Theatre was state of the art for it's day. The projector was the latest technical marvel, it had a crying room to bring your fussy child, a smoking room for those who needed it - remember it was the 1950's! The theatre sat 450 people.   


Over the years, the space is used as a gift shop, bakery and restaurant. The distinctive marque is still visible. Most visitors don't have any idea that the building was originally Scottsdale's first movie theatre.


(Photos courtesy of the Scottsdale Historical Society)  

Answer to Famous Alumnus

John Phillips graduated from Scottsdale High School in 1966 and then attended the US Naval Academy where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and Russian in 1972. In 1974, he graduated with a master of science degree in aeronautical systems from the University of West Florida. In 1984, he received a second master of science degree in geophysics from the University of California, Los Angels (UCLA). In 1987 he received a doctorate in space physics from UCLA.

In 1972, Phillips received a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy and was designated a naval aviator in 1974. He served aboard the aircraft carriers USS Oriskany and USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. He logged over 4,400 flight hours and 250 carrier landings. He was a Navy reservist from 1982 to 2002. He holds the rank of captain, USN (retired).  

NASA selected Phillips in 1996 to be an astronaut and he reported to the Johnson Space Center in Florida. In 2001 Phillips was the ascent/entry flight engineer aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor. He also completed a six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2005 where his knowledge of Russian from college came in handy. In 2009, he was on a 12-day mission to the ISS aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.

You can find most of the yearbooks from Scottsdale high schools in the Scottsdale Heritage Connection located in the Scottsdale Public Library's Civic Center Branch, 3839 N Drinkwater Blvd. Appointments are required.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We'll be sending out the next e-newsletter around August with a report on the 70th anniversary celebration and the list of upcoming virtual Scottsdale history classes presented by Scottsdale Neighborhood College and the Scottsdale Public Library. There will also be more resources from the Scottsdale Historical Society and the Scottsdale Public Library. 

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City of Scottsdale