September 2021

A partnership among Scottsdale Neighborhood College, Scottsdale Public Library and the Scottsdale Historical Society to provide information, news and resources about Scottsdale history.
Traffic problem on Main Street 100 years ago

This is an article from the Arizona Republican newspaper (before it was called the Arizona Republic) about parking concerns leading to traffic issues on main street in 1922 - that was 99 years ago! It was 29 years before Scottsdale was incorporated (1951) and 39 years before Scottsdale became a city (1961).

The article said: "Scottsdale is to Regulate Parking. The parking conditions in Scottsdale have become such that some steps must be taken soon to regulate them. Last Saturday the cars were parked in the main street in front of the bank that it was impossible for a car to pass through the street. The night watchman and Constable Fredericks have requested that all people to please park their cars at an angle to the sidewalk and park but one deep. If this request is fulfilled there will be no trouble in finding a place for all the cars, and cars can be got out without moving several cards and trailers." 

The issue was people coming to Main Street on Saturday nights and double parking. It caused an obstruction so vehicles couldn't drive down the street. 

The article mentioned the problem was being addressed by the night watchman (no name provided) and Constable Al Frederick. Al Frederick was a constable and sheriff's deputy who was the law and order in town until 1950 when he died in office. His wife took over for him as constable until the Marshall's Office was started in 1951. Al's son Jim Frederick was appointed and then elected to the Scottsdale town council. He also died in office, but that was another story covered in the second tale of the presentation, "Scoundrels, Rascals & Cutthroats".

The traffic congestion was in front of "the bank." In 1922, it would be the relatively new Farmers Bank of Scottsdale that opened in 1921 next to E.O. Brown's General Store (today Bischoff's Shades of the West, 7247 E. Main St.). The bank was a mainstay on Main Street until it closed for a bank holiday on March 2, 1933 and never reopened. Today, we call the bank - the Rusty Spur Saloon at 7245 E. Main St. and it's been the Rusty Spur for 70 years!

(Article credit: June 9, 1922, Arizona Republican newspaper.)


Civic Center Adult Services assists research project

The Scottsdale Heritage Connection is located in the Civic Center Library.

The Scottsdale Heritage Connection is located in the Civic Center Library.

Recently, the Civic Center Library Adult Services team helped a patron with a substantial research project using materials in the Scottsdale Heritage Connection. The patron submitted a request through the library's "Ask a Librarian" service: "I am looking for an article in the Scottsdale Progress in 1960 or 1961 called 'Man About Town.' The subject was a student at Scottsdale High School named Butch Riggs who was an athlete."

The Library staff spent more than three hours searching bound copies of back issues of the Scottsdale Progress. They found the article "Man About Town" and more than 22 pages of additional information. The day the patron came into the library, she spent at least five hours and had multiple staff members assisting with printing from microfilm. She was able to put together an album for the Riggs family using all the material found and they were delighted. The patron sent a lovely note to the library staff to thank them. 

The information services team at Civic Center Library is happy to make appointments to help find archived materials in the Scottsdale Heritage Connection. They have helped other city departments find photographs and other materials to support graphics and planning projects and are happy to help patrons when given enough lead time to search the collection. Please contact them by filling out an Ask A Librarian form on the library website


Scottsdale history classes for the fall 2021 session of Scottsdale Neighborhood College

Two fascinating history classes will be presented in the fall 2021 session of Scottsdale Neighborhood College. 

Spooky Stories of Scottsdale

1-3 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 28, Mustang Library Auditorium, 10101 N. 90th St. and on Zoom.
Our storyteller will share three stories about people in Scottsdale who had an unusual death over the last 85 years. Could these people be the ghosts that haunt the buildings of Old Town? This is a new presentation. Presenter: Bruce Wall, city of Scottsdale.

The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

1-3 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10, Mustang Library Auditorium, 10101 N 90th St and on Zoom.
In 1976, a man who lived in a small town in Arizona was found dead in his brother's Scottsdale apartment. The suspect was apprehended quickly but the masterminds in the case were harder to track down. Learn about this fascinating case and its implications for Scottsdale and Arizona. This is an encore presentation originally presented in the in-person class "Scoundrels, Rascals & Cutthroats Part II." Presenter: Bruce Wall, city of Scottsdale.

For more information, please check the Neighborhood College webpage. And if you would like to watch some of the virtual presentations, visit the Scottsdale History YouTube channel. 


Cotton - the seed to development around World War I

During World War I, there was a shortage of cotton caused by the loss of access to Egyptian cotton. There was also a major boll weevil infestation in the Southeastern US that destroyed the cotton crop. The Goodyear Tire Company found out that local Pima cotton was equal to fine Egyptian Cotton. In 1917, the company purchased 16,000 acres of land west of Phoenix and began producing cotton. Eventually the area became a town that was incorporated in 1946 and the people chose the name Goodyear.

Cotton became a 'cash' crop for the valley, and Scottsdale farmers thrived. The photo above shows cotton bales being taken to the Scottsdale Cotton Gin to produce cotton in the 1920s. In order to harvest and process cotton and the expansion of farming this crop brought, Valley farmers imported workers from Mexico, including the Yaquis. The Yaquis would concentrate in Scottsdale and Guadalupe to the south of Tempe. 

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 Main Street and Brown Avenue in the Old Town area. Although currently closed, they will need volunteers to serve as docents when they reopen their doors. 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 Texas but attended a Scottsdale high school where he was a standout baseball player. Although he was drafted out of high school, he chose to attend an in-state community college for two years. Then he was drafted by another team but chose to attend an in-state university. He is now a major league pitcher playing for the local team.  

Scroll down to see the answer!



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

How the Streets got their names: Bishop Lane

Bishop Lane is a short street that runs parallel to Scottsdale Road, just west, between Goldwater Blvd and 2nd Street in Old Town. It appears no where else in the city. But who was it named after?

Bishop Lane was named after Dr. Thomas S. Bishop. The Bishops moved to Arizona around 1913. Dr. Bishop was also a farmer. He grew cotton and citrus. He had extensive acreage for farming. One of his plots was the northeast corner of the Arizona Canal and Indian School Road. 

In 1922, Bishop was the president of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. Bishop played a role in many early Scottsdale life cycle events. He frequently went to the funeral home to help a family sort thru their affairs or serve as a witness for documents.  

In 1923, Bishop was appointed the chair of the state commission on agriculture and horticulture by Arizona Governor George Hunt. Hunt served as the first, third and fifth governor of Arizona for a combined seven terms. 

Bishop served on the state commission in the 1920s bringing some prominence to the small village of Scottsdale. The commission worked tirelessly to promote citrus in Arizona and to fight the boll weevil (a type of beetle) infestation that threatened the cotton crop. 

Dr. Bishop died in 1947. To honor Dr. Bishop, Bishop Lane in Old Town bears his name. 

The photo of Dr. Bishop at left was taken in 1919 and is now part of the Scottsdale Heritage Connection.

You can find many photographs and documents related to the early pioneers of Scottsdale in the Scottsdale Heritage Connection located within the Civic Center Library

(Photos courtesy of Google Maps and the Scottsdale Historical Society)  

Answer to Famous Alumnus

Merrill Kelly was born in Houston, Texas then his family moved to Arizona where he graduated from Desert Mountain High School. He was the "ace" on the pitching staff for the Wolves with a 25-9 record. 

In 2007, he graduated and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. Rather than starting his professional career, he attended Yavapai Community College in Prescott and pitched for the Roughriders for two years. He was then drafted by the Cleveland Indians and again turned it down. He transferred to ASU to complete his studies as a Sun Devil. 

In 2010, he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays and this time decided to sign with the team. He didn't make the team and played for the club's AAA team. He then played four seasons in South Korea before signing in 2019 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

You can find most of the yearbooks from Scottsdale high schools in the Scottsdale Heritage Connection located in the Civic Center Library, 3839 N Drinkwater Blvd. Appointments are required and obtained through the Ask A Librarian feature.

(Photo credit:


We'll be sending out the next e-newsletter around November/December with information on upcoming virtual/hybrid history classes and more news about Scottsdale history. Stay healthy! 

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City of Scottsdale