For Phoenix, which has grown into the 6th largest city in the United States, the future holds great things. For our beautiful town, they sky is the limit. Before we get too concerned about where we are going, why don’t we take a moment or two to learn about where we have been? Let’s dive into the history of Phoenix, Arizona.
Long before Phoenix was settled by American citizens, it was home to the Hohokam people. For thousands of years they thrived in the desert. They dug over 140 miles of ditches and irrigation canals to deliver water to the valley, and to create arable and farmable land. They turned the desert into a paradise and lived happily until the 1300s when drought stuck. As water dried up, the Hohokam were forced to abandon the area.
Early Modern Phoenix
Phoenix as we now know it was founded following the Civil War. One Jack Swilling, a confederate veteran, was one of the town’s first settlers. He looked at the Salt River Valley and saw that it had potential as a farming town. Phoenix was officially incorporated into the United States on May 4, 1868. In the 1880s the first railroad reached the town, and Phoenix’s growth exploded. In 1889, Phoenix officially became the capital of the young territory of Arizona. Finally, on February 4, 1912, Arizona was granted statehood by President Taft.
Phoenix’s Rapid Growth
Once Arizona officially became a state, Phoenix really took off. In 1929, the first airport, Sky Harbor opened its doors to travelers. From the period of time between the end of World War II and today, Phoenix has been one of the nation’s fastest growing cities. Its population has swelled from approximately 65,000 in 1940, to well over 1.5 million today.