The French Gratitude Train or Merci Car was dedicated upon its arrival to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park Nov. 7, 1987, with stakeholders, local activist Zina Kuhn, Mayor Herb Drinkwater, French Consul Claude Posnier and National Guard Commander Major General Donald L. Owens in attendance.
The French people gifted the Merci Car, one of 49 boxcars filled with treasures, to America in thanks for our help in its recovery from World War II.
The boxcar suffered years of neglect after its 1949 arrival to the Arizona State Capitol. Local activist Zina Kuhn came to the rescue, arranging for the Merci to be brought to Scottsdale. Kuhn raised money and flew to France to retrieve plaques and shields to adorn the car. Following two years of restoration, the Merci Car was dedicated Nov. 11, 1989, 32 years ago.
Save the date for Scottsdale's Founders Day
Founder's Day will be celebrated at noon Friday, Feb. 25, at the Community Design Studio, 7506 E. Indian School Road. This marks Winfield Scott's 185th birthday!
Watch Founder's Day 2021 to see last year's virtual Founder's Day celebration.
Scottsdale history classes now available online
Scottsdale Neighborhood College held two hybrid history presentations hosted by Bruce Wall. They are available on YouTube:
The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree - In 1976, a man who lived in a small Arizona town was found dead in his brother's apartment. The suspect was apprehended quickly, but the masterminds in the case were harder to track down. This recording is not "broadcast quality" so you'll only be able to watch it on YouTube.
Scottsdale Historical Society News
The Scottsdale Historical Society is upgrading its exhibits to tell more about Scottsdale's story. As part of this effort, it would appreciate either donations or loans of photographs, posters, menus, brochures and other items that portray notable Scottsdale area buildings and sites, cultural and sporting events, restaurants and resorts that have made Scottsdale a renowned community.
Find out more about the history of Scottsdale at the Scottsdale Historical Society. They operate the historical museum located in the Little Red Schoolhouse near Main Street and Brown Avenue in the Old Town area. The museum is currently closed, but their website has information and resources.
The Jokake Inn
The Jokake Inn was one of the earliest resorts located in the Scottsdale area. It was built on Camelback Mountain's southeast slope (now part of the Phoenician Resort). Horseback riding was one of the guest highlights in the '20s and '30s. The ultimate ride was to a small group of cabins the Jokake Inn built near what is now 124th Street and Shea Boulevard. The ride took an entire day. Guests would enjoy an evening barbecue and a hearty breakfast the next day before being driven back to the Inn.
(Photos courtesy of the Scottsdale Historical Society)
Who's this famous Scottsdale High School alumnus?
This Scottsdale-area graduate was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and moved to Scottsdale as a young boy in the 1950s. He said he grew up in Scottsdale on horseback and remembered riding his horse around town and hitching it to the drug store and movie theatre. He attended Scottsdale High School and Arizona State University. He performed as an actor but became famous as the lead singer of a music group that rose to prominence just as MTV was coming on the air in the early 1980s. His band had several hits, and he continues to write and perform music. His most recent solo album came out last year during the pandemic.
Scroll down to see the answer!
(Photo credit: Ancestry.com U.S. School Yearbooks 1900-1999.)
Scottsdale Heritage Connection community recognition
The Scottsdale Heritage Connection (SHC) at the Civic Center Library is recognizing community groups and individuals who have performed meaningful acts for Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Public Library.
The Spirit of Literacy Awards, which recognizes those who have significantly contributed to community and library services and programs, relaunched last year. The awards began in 2002 and ran through 2014.
The "Celebrate Scottsdale Organizations" permanent exhibit in the SHC gallery space debuted in October. The display honors 15 amazing community organizations that have made Scottsdale what it is today. A citizen group initiated the campaign and coordinated it with Scottsdale Leadership. Friends of the Scottsdale Public Library, the Boys and Girls Club, the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce and Scottsdale Leadership are just some of the featured organizations.
How the streets got their names: Brown Avenue
Brown Avenue runs through the heart of Old Town. But with all the "Browns" who lived here over the years, who was the street named after?
Edwin Orpheus Brown, better known as E.O., and his wife Mary Coldwell Brown were early Scottsdale pioneers. They moved from Janesville, Wisconsin, in 1904, at the request of Mary's older sister, Sarah Coldwell Thomas. Thomas was Scottsdale's first business woman and Post Mistress.
E.O. Brown's wife, Mary, died in 1924 from pulmonary tuberculosis. E.O. Brown married again to Mary Graves who owned the Graves Guest Ranch, northwest corner of Indian School and Scottsdale roads.
Answer to Famous Alumnus
John "Fee" Waybill was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His family moved to Scottsdale in the 1950s and according to a recent magazine article, he grew up in Southwest Village around 68th Street and Osborn Road. He graduated from Scottsdale High School in 1966 and attended Arizona State University for a few years before becoming a full-time musician and actor.
Watch for a Founder's Day flyer around January/February. We'll be sending the next e-newsletter around February/March. It will have a Founders Day recap, upcoming virtual/hybrid history classes and more news about Scottsdale history. Happy Thanksgiving!