May 2022

A partnership among Scottsdale Neighborhood College, Scottsdale Public Library and the Scottsdale Historical Society to provide information, news and resources about Scottsdale history.

Scottsdale Library's Hometown Happy Hours are loads of fun!

Community historian Joan Fudala presented "Scottsdale's Water History: Canals, Control and Conservation" at the Civic Center Library.

The Scottsdale Public Library hosted "Hometown Happy Hours" in April and May with special presentations by community historian Joan Fudala. The April Hometown Happy Hour was a presentation at the Civic Center Library on water and its importance to the development of Scottsdale.

In May, Joan did a class called "Park It" about the amazing city parks in Scottsdale. Joan told the stories of the iconic McCormick-Stillman Railroad park at Indian Bend and Scottsdale roads to the newer George "Doc" Cavalliere Park at Alma School Parkway and Rio Verde Drive. The parks of Scottsdale and the innovators that created them were well represented.

Be on the look out for more Hometown Happy Hour presentations at the library in the fall!

Upcoming Scottsdale History presentations

As part of June Days, a monthlong summer celebration in Old Town Scottsdale which kicks off June 1, the city of Scottsdale is offering a free, four-part storytelling session called "Scottsdale Stories & Sweets." Beginning June 9, there will be weekly history presentations in the renovated Community Design Studio with sweet treats from Old Town businesses.

Scottsdale Stories & Sweets - Part 1: History of the Community Design Studio

The Ascension Lutheran Church in 1952 is now the Community Design Studio.

6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at the Community Design Studio, 7506 E. Indian School Road.

Join us for a unique storytelling session as you nibble on delicious dates from local Old Town business, Sphinx Date Company. Be amazed as tale-teller Bruce Wall presents the history of the Community Design Studio and artwork found throughout the building.

The Community Design Studio is likely a building you've passed many time. Located on the northeast corner of Indian School and 75th Street, this iconic building had many lives and is home to several fun public art pieces. 70 years ago, the Ascension Lutheran Church opened for Sunday service, but quickly outgrew the building and moved away. During this presentation, learn how the building was used for 30 years prior to the city's purchase and how it is used today. All ages welcome. Treats available while supplies last. Please register.

Scottsdale Stories & Sweets - Part 2: In Winfield's Shadow & Getting Away From It All
6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at the Community Design Studio, 7506 E. Indian School Road.

Join us for a unique Scottsdale storytelling session as you nibble on sweet treats from local Old Town business, Ruze Cake House. Be amazed as tale-teller Bruce Wall gives guests an in-depth look at the story behind the photos. Hear about a forgotten pioneer family and the role the area of McDowell to Thomas (from 64th to 68th streets) played in a world war. All ages welcome. Treats available while supplies last. Please register.

Scottsdale Stories & Sweets - Part 3: The Place to be Seen & The Indomitable Woman of Scottsdale

6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23, at the Community Design Studio, 7506 E. Indian School Road.

Join us for a unique storytelling session as you cool down with an ice cream sandwich from local Old Town business, Unbaked. Bruce Wall gives guests an in-depth look at the history behind the photos. Hear the stories of an iconic restaurant from Old Town's past, and a woman who played an important part in the early development of the city. All ages welcome, treats available while supplies last. Please register.

Scottsdale Stories & Sweets - Part 4: Mystery and Murder in Old Town!
6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 30, at the Community Design Studio, 7506 E. Indian School Road.

Join us for a unique Scottsdale story telling session as you nibble on sweet treats from local business, Sphynx Date Company. Listen as Bruce Wall covers two of the most notorious murders committed in Old Town Scottsdale. The first story is about a town councilman who was shot to death in his home, but the twists in the story play out like a movie. In the second story, attendees will learn about a 1960s TV star who was murdered in Old Town during the 1970s. Who were the suspects? Was the case ever solved? All ages welcome (parental guidance is suggested). Treats available while supplies last. Please register.

Famous alumna

Summertime means reading a good book or two - preferably on the beach! Our famous Scottsdale high school alumna has a literary career that doesn't seem to be getting near its twilight. She was born in Connecticut, but moved to the Phoenix area and attended Chaparral High School, graduating around 1992. She won a National Merit Scholarship that paid for her to attend college out of state, but she still took a few semesters at ASU.

She had a supernatural dream one night and used the dream to write her first book that was published in 2006. The book was a huge success leading to three sequels and five movies.

Scroll down to find out who was this famous Alumna.

Photo credit: U.S. school yearbooks 1900-1999.

Scottsdale pioneers in the summertime

Have you ever wondered what the early pioneers did in the summertime in Scottsdale before air conditioning was invented? They had several strategies. Some were more successful than others.

A lesson in staying cool in the summer could be seen in the home of Reverend Judson and Minnie Elliott. Reverend Elliott was a friend of Chaplain Winfield Scott who chose to move to Scottsdale around 1900. He ran the Elliott Sanitarium in Phoenix.

Reverend Judson and Minnie Elliott's home on the SE corner of Indian School and Scottsdale Road today is the location of the Chase Bank drive thru.

A Pima Ramada was a structure built adjacent to the door of a residence that provided shade and allowed pioneers to cook outside, which prevented heat from their stoves from permeating their homes. The Pima Ramada is the thatched roof structure in the photo at right.

Canvas Windows can be seen in the photo at right. They could be lifted at night to allow air flow into the house.

Sleeping on the Porch was another solution for heat weary residents. They could sleep on their porches covered with a wet sheet to get some relief from the heat.

Swimming holes were important, especially to the youth. There were drainage canals along most roadways and ponds to swim around the area.

E.O. Brown's general store and ice plant, added after 1918, allowed evaporative cooling of the building.

Ice blocks were not an option for the first 24 years of the unincorporated town of Scottsdale. But in 1918, ice blocks could be purchased from E.O. Brown's ice plant located next to his general store. Residents would place a block of ice near a fan to blow cold air into their homes. This happened after the creation of the Scottsdale Light and Power Company by Brown, Charles Miller and W.E. Kimsey. Brown had a evaporative cooler on his building where Bischoff's Shades of the West is now located at 7247 E. Main Street.

Heading to the hills was the most common strategy to get through the summer heat. Most families had a favorite location to spend some time away from the Valley. The Graves family, who owned the Graves Guest Ranch on the northwest corner of Scottsdale and Indian School from around 1910 to 1950, liked to spend their summers at Mormon Lake, near Flagstaff. Winfield and Helen Scott preferred Prescott and Winfield was a summer pastor for the Prescott Baptist Church.

It seems unfathomable today to live in Scottsdale without air conditioning for the summer, but the early pioneers did it year after year!

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 Old Town. Although currently closed for the Civic center Renovations, they will need volunteers to serve as docents when they reopen their doors around January 2023. Volunteering 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.

Above image courtesy of the Scottsdale Historical Society.

Take another look at the Scottsdale Then and Now exhibit

Items from the collection of the Scottsdale Historical Society on display at the Scottsdale Then & Now exhibit at the Civic Center Library.

If you think you've seen the "Scottsdale Then and Now" exhibit at the Civic Center Library, you may want to think again. The photo-packed trip down Scottsdale's memory lane, currently mounted at the Scottsdale Heritage Connection (SHC), has been doubled this month to showcase more amazing photos. The additions include artifacts from the Scottsdale Historical Society and include items pertaining to the history of Scottsdale's many restaurants.

The new photo sections of the exhibit focus on Scottsdale's rich culinary tradition as a go-to destination for all kinds of restaurants and dining experiences. It also includes the history of the Scottsdale Public Library.

The culinary section highlights early popular eateries and details the expansion of the city's restaurant culture, which grew as the city became a vacation destination. The new material about the library explores the humble beginnings as a volunteer project in the Adobe House, the move to the Little Red Schoolhouse, and the advent of a bookmobile. The bookmobile expanded the reach of the library through the city.

Photos also depict how the Civic Center Library opened, and later expanded and how the library branches were opened over the years, mirroring the city's northward growth. Next time you are in the neighborhood, stop by and take a look at the remarkable images of the city's growth over the years. While we look forward to the re-opening of the Scottsdale Historical Society's museum in the Little Red Schoolhouse, it's nice to have a place to explore the city's history through images and artifacts.

Above image Courtesy of Scottsdale Public Library.

How the streets got their names: Murray Lane

Ken Murry served as City Councilmember from 1966-1971 and as Vice Mayor from 1968-1971.

Murray Lane is just north of El Dorado Park and across the street from Coronado High School. It extends east of Miller Road and ends where the street curves to the south to become 77th Street. But how did it get named Murray Lane?

According to Paul Messinger in his April 7, 2016 Scottsdale history column in the Arizona Republic newspaper, Murray Lane was named in the late 1960s to honor Vice Mayor Ken Murray. He was in charge of a committee that worked to align the street names with the city of Phoenix.

Several citizens served with Ken Murray to determine if they should call it 76th Street or Miller Road. The committee chose to keep Miller, Hayden and Granite Reef roads. Other named streets had to become numbers to align with Phoenix.

To thank Vice Mayor Ken Murray for his work, Mayor Bud Tims and the City Council named Murray Lane in his honor.

Keeping cool in a Scottsdale pool!

City of Scottsdale employees Mike Mahoney (left) and Jim Shrum stand on the deck of Scottsdale community pool in the 1970s. 

Finding ways to keep cool in Scottsdale's summer heat is a must! The first community pool in Scottsdale was opened in August 1960 between Civic Center Library (prior to the expansion of the building) and Scottsdale Stadium that was said to the be largest all-tile pool in the world when it was built. 

The Civic Coordinating Council transferred the pool complex to the Town of Scottsdale which continued to operate it as the Scottsdale Municipal Pool through the 1970s and possibly into the early 1980s. Since then, the pool has been removed, but four others were added. The first was Eldorado Park Aquatic Center. The park itself was Scottsdale's first major park and opened in 1967, Chaparral Park Aquatic Centered opened in 1974, Cactus Park Aquatic Center opened in 1987, and most recently the McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatics Center opened in 2007. 


Families around the Valley utilize these pools and the staff have put on amazing events over the years such as April Pools Day at Cactus pool, Wet and Wild Water Day and Wacky Wednesdays at Chaparral pool. You can find photos of these events and the pools by searching the aquatic center digital collection in Scottsdale Public Library's catalog. 

Answer to Famous Alumnus

Stephanie Meyer wrote the Twilight series.

Stephanie Morgan was born in Hartford, Connecticut, but moved to the Phoenix area and attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale. In 1992, she won the National Merit Scholarship, which she used attend Brigham Young University, in Utah. She later returned to the Valley to take a few semesters at ASU. She married her husband Christian Meyer in 1994 and uses her married name - Stephanie Meyer - for her writings.

In 2003, Stephanie had a dream about a human girl who fell in love with a vampire. She wrote a book based on the dream and it became the Twilight series.

The first Twilight book was published in 2006 and was followed by New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. The books remained on the New York Times best seller list for 235 weeks, breaking the previous record set by the Harry Potter books.

The books were optioned as movies even before they were completed in 2004. The first movie was released in 2008. The sequels were released annually through 2012. The movies grossed $3.3 billion worldwide.

Photo credit:

Next Time

Our next Scottsdale history newsletter will come out August/September highlighting the fall history presentations at the Scottsdale Public Library and Neighborhood College.

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