May 2023

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

Scottsdale honors the fallen

Mayor Ortega welcomes the crowd to the ceremony.

On March 18, Scottsdale Memorial for the Fallen was dedicated at Scottsdale City Hall's Memorial Lawn, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd. (on the east side of City Hall). The new memorial recognized 66 people in the Scottsdale - Paradise Valley - Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation who died in service to our country. 

The residents who were honored served with distinction in the United States military for more than 100 years. The conflicts included: World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Iraq/Afghanistan Wars.

In attendance at the dedication was Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Vice President Ricardo Leonard, Scottsdale Mayor David D. Ortega and Town of Paradise Valley Councilman Mark Stanton. 

Community historian Joan Fudala emceed the ceremony that featured Scottsdale Mayor Ortega, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Band, Scottsdale Fire Department's pipes and drums, bugler Gil Gifford and a wreath laying by representatives from Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.


Joan Fudala and Kelly Corsette, liaison to the Scottsdale Veteran's Advisory Commission, read the names aloud inviting honored family members to stand when their family was recognized. Representatives from the Scottsdale Fire Department rang a bell to commemorate each fallen soldier, sailor, airman or marine.

The memorial was guided by Scottsdale High School graduate Jim Geiser, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, who led the effort to create the ASU Veterans Memorial Wall. A group of concerned residents raised more than $300,000 to pay for the memorial. Jim passed away last year, but the work he began was completed by his family and the committee.

Scottsdale Stories & Sweets returns as part of June Days

What could be better than listening to stories of Scottsdale history in air-conditioned comfort in Old Town Scottsdale? Having free dessert (while supplies last) of course! This popular event from last year includes presentations by Bruce Wall, Citizen Advisor for the city of Scottsdale, and will occur at the Community Design Studio, 7506 E. Indian School Road:

  • Scottsdale: Fact or Fiction Part 1 - 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6. Our tale teller will kick off the Scottsdale Stories & Sweets series with stories that may be fact or fiction - you decide! What year was Scottsdale established? What was the original name for Scottsdale? And finally, which civil war veteran started our community? Treats prepared by Paula Jacqueline Cakes & Pastries. Register for this event.
  • Scottsdale: Fact or Fiction? Part 2 - 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20. Join us for a unique Scottsdale storytelling session that tests your ability to discern fact from fiction. Could you legally purchase alcohol in Scottsdale before Prohibition? Are the trees planted by our founders more than 120 years old still standing? As part of the story, you'll learn about the oldest steak restaurant in Scottsdale and how the owner's past actions still positively contribute to our economy today! Indulge in treats by Sweet Dee's Bakeshop. Register for this event.
  • The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree - 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27. Our storyteller is often asked, "What's your favorite Scottsdale crime story?" You'll know when you attend this presentation! Learn about a plot hatched by some bad characters from Bisbee to kill a man in Scottsdale in the 1970s. When confronted by Scottsdale Police, the suspects tried to prove they were innocent, but inadvertently admitted their guilt. It's an amazing story that has a surprise ending you'll have to hear to believe. Treats prepared by Chin Up Donuts. Register for this event.

Please register to help us plan for food quantities.

These events are part of June Days

June Days presents the very best of what makes Old Town Scottsdale so fun — with daily events encouraging locals and visitors to get out and discover the area’s shops, restaurants, wineries, galleries, local points of interest and museums. From unique workshops to live performances and music to immersive art exhibits and scavenger hunts, the City of Scottsdale welcomes everyone to join in on this summertime celebration!

Visit to view the entire June Days event calendar. There is something happening every day of the month!


McDowell Sonoran Preserve history added to the Scottsdale Heritage Connection

The Scottsdale Heritage Connection at the Scottsdale Public Library recently finished processing a donation of McDowell Sonoran Preserve material from Carla, former executive director of the McDowell Sonoran Land Trust/Conservancy.

This collection includes digitized material such as photographs, videos, maps and documents, including a picture of the infamous "Save Our McDowells" t-shirt! In addition, five archival boxes of material were inventoried, which include information on the citizen votes for the Preserve over the years, the Arizona Preserve Initiative, and newspaper articles. Search "McDowell Sonoran Preserve Pioneer collection" in the library catalog.

What happened to the one-room schoolhouse?

The one-room schoolhouse with students outside was built in 1896 for the new Scottsdale Unified School District #48.

In all the excitement about the dedication of the Little Red Schoolhouse on Feb. 12, 1910, one has to ask what happened to the original one-room schoolhouse? Like most things in the early days of Scottsdale, it revolves around our founder, Winfield Scott.

In 1896, Winfield Scott encouraged the town to build a one-room schoolhouse. His goal was to recruit families to move to the new town. He knew a good school would attract families. Thus, the Scottsdale Unified School District #48 was established. The one-room schoolhouse was built over a weekend and was located east of the current location of the Little Red Schoolhouse. It served the Scottsdale community for fourteen years on the site where the public restroom now stands.

In 1909, Winfield Scott again advocated that the town needed a larger schoolhouse and asked residents for a bond of $5,000 to build a larger school next to the existing one-room schoolhouse. The new schoolhouse was built for less than $5,000, but the question remained - what should they do with the original one-room schoolhouse?

On Feb. 5, 1910, the Arizona Republican newspaper (now called the Arizona Republic) announced that the one-room schoolhouse was put up for auction. The highest bidder? Winfield Scott! Scott told the paper that he would fix it up to have a residence on his property to rent.

The following week there was a story about the challenges Scott was facing to move the old schoolhouse to his property. The newspaper reported, "It is not used to navigation." By Feb. 19, 1910, Scott reported to the paper that the one-room schoolhouse had been moved to his property and was undergoing renovations.

You can find out more about Scottsdale's history at the Scottsdale Historical Museum located in the Little Red Schoolhouse at 7333 E. Scottsdale Mall. The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays in May. It will be closed in June, July and August. You can volunteer to be a docent for the fall. Contact Terry Erickson or call 480-560-3392. Learn more about the Scottsdale Historical Society.


Famous alumnus

This graduate of a Scottsdale area school received notice almost ten years ago when he won a contest to make a commercial for the biggest sporting event of the year with a huge cash prize! The project included this person's child and dog. A friend came from out of state to help with the project.

He's also a writer, director and producer.

Scroll down to find out who this famous Alumnus is.

Photo credit: U.S. school yearbooks.


Fourth of July, Summer-time fun in Scottsdale

By Joan Fudala

For Scottsdale natives, it's a time for picnics and parties; for transplants from milder climates, celebrating the 4th of July requires some adaptations. Either way, it's a day full of history and commemoration in Scottsdale.

With Civil War veteran and retired U.S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott as our namesake and modern-day founder, Scottsdale has very patriotic roots. The handful of pioneer families gathered at Scott's ranch to celebrate holidays, including those that celebrated America such as George Washington's Birthday and Fourth of July.

Children cool off in a Scottsdale canal ditch in the summertime around 1918.

According to Scott's biographer Dick Lynch in his book "Winfield Scott, A Biography of Scottsdale's Founder," in June 1900, Scott returned to Scottsdale to attend a meeting of the Scottsdale school board of which he was still a member. At the meeting, he offered to buy a flagpole for the schoolhouse (one-room schoolhouse that residents built in 1896) to be erected for the Fourth of July celebration, and although he would not be there, he offered his grove for the community celebration. His offers were accepted.

A hundred years ago, Scottsdale summers were quite different. Kids swam in the canal laterals, played marbles in the middle of downtown (unpaved) streets, savored homegrown watermelons and slept outside on porches, often wrapped in wet sheets to keep cool in the days before air conditioning.


Library looking for Scottsdale Woman's Club material!

Did you know the Scottsdale Public Library is looking for loans or donations of documents and photos related to the Scottsdale Woman's Club?

If you have pictures, scrapbooks, or documents from the Scottsdale Woman's Club or Scottsdale Junior Woman's Club, head over to our Scottsdale Heritage Connection page to find out how you can help us enhance our historical collection!

Photo courtesy of the Scottsdale Public Library.

How the streets got their names: Bennie Gonzales Way

Bennie Gonzales reviews a model of the Civic Center.

Bennie Gonzales was a renowned architect who built several buildings in Scottsdale. In 1968, he designed Scottsdale City Hall and the Civic Center Library. Later in 1974, he designed the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts creating one unified aesthetic across the Civic Center.

He built more than 300 buildings in his career, including two dozen in Scottsdale. His home was featured in Life magazine, which brought attention to Scottsdale as a vibrant Southwest city.

Gonzales was born in a one-bedroom farmhouse at 20th Street and Osborn Road, which was outside Phoenix at the time. He grew up working for his uncle Santiago Cahill, who was a contractor on the construction of the Heard Museum, Arizona Biltmore and the Camelback Inn. Bennie graduated from Arizona Teachers College, later renamed Arizona State University. He was one of the first Americans of Mexican descent to become a registered architect in Arizona. He completed a year of postgraduate study at the University of Mexico in Mexico City.

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bennie Gonzales's contributions to Scottsdale and southwest architecture, on Oct. 11, 2018, Scottsdale renamed First Avenue between Drinkwater Boulevard and 75th Street as "Bennie Gonzales Way."


Answer to Famous Alumnus

The Writers Guild of America strike is going on, so we thought we would remember a famous alumnus who was a writer, director, producer and editor.

Ryan Thomas Andersen was born in Phoenix in 1985 and graduated from Arcadia High School in 2003. After graduation, he attended Scottsdale Community College studying film.

In 2014, he wrote, directed and produced the commercial "Time Machine" and submitted it to the national Doritos Super Bowl Commercial contest that won $1 million. The commercial starred Valley actor Jim Coates and Los Angeles actor Daved Wilkens. The little boy named "Jimmy" was played by Ryan's six-year-old son. If you don't remember that clever commercial, you can watch it on YouTube.

He wrote the sci-fi film IM'perfect in 2016 and began production. The film premiered in 2018 at the Phoenix Film Festival and earned Anderson the honor of Arizona Filmmaker of the Year.

Unfortunately, Ryan Thomas Andersen died in 2018 from cancer. He was survived by his son, parents and family.

Photo from Messinger's Mortuary.

Next Time

You won't want to miss our Scottsdale History August/September Newsletter with information on fall Scottsdale history classes. There will be more news and resources about Scottsdale history to come!

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