This day in Arizona history


Feb. 14
On this day in 1912, President Taft signed the Statehood Bill making Arizona the 48th state

Oct. 1

  • On this date in 1858, the first Butterfield Overland Mail coach entered Arizona by way of Stein's Pass.
  • On this date in 1864, the first legislative act of the Territory of Arizona was passed. It empowered the governor to appoint a commission to prepare a code of laws for the Territorial Legislature.
  • On this date in 1891, the University of Arizona opened its doors for the first time
Oct. 4

On this date in 1867, a bill to move the capitol from Prescott to Tucson was approved by Gov. McCormick.

Nov. 11

  • On this date in 1851, Yuma Indians attacked Camp Independence at Yuma Crossing and sank Jaeger's ferry. The half-starved garrison at the camp held out until December before withdrawing.
  • On this date in 1873, the telegraph line between Yuma and Prescott was completed.
  • On this date in 1890, the Arizona Republican began publication in Phoenix and, 40 years later to the day, changed its name to the Arizona Republic.
  • On this date in 1897, four miners had a gun battle over mining claims near Prescott. Two were killed and two were wounded.
  • On this date in 1898, the first motion picture was shown in Tucson. It was the 14-round Fitzsimmons-Corbett fight and was shown at the Tucson Opera House.
  • On this date in 1909, men in Arizona and New Mexico stole so many horses from the Navajo Reservation that the agency superintendent designed a new tribal brand.
  • On this date in 1919, special agents from the Department of Justice opened a drive on Globe's moonshining industry. They issued 115 warrant and seized 10,000 gallons of moonshine.
  • On this date in 1926, an attempt by train robbers to cause a head-on collision between the Golden State Limited and the Sunset Express on the Southern Pacific line near Gila Bend was foiled by an alert engineer.

November 15

  • On this date in 1885, the first through-passenger train left San Diego over the Santa Fe line to cross Arizona along the 35th parallel to the Mississippi Valley.
  • On this date in 1915, burglars robbed the Modern Store in Nogales, making off with a great amount of clothing, including 72 silk petticoats and 10 Union suits
  • On this date in 1934, 50 Tucson women organized and made plans to establish the state's first birth control clinic.
  • On this date in 1985, after years of planning and construction, the first water from the Colorado River was delivered to the Phoenix area by the Central Arizona Project.

December 1

On this date in 1920, the Nogales Chamber of Commerce presented Alvaro Obregon, newly inaugurated President of Mexico, with a solid-gold paperweight which was a replica of the Sonora border between the United States and Mexico.

Dec. 2

On this date in 1852, the first steamer on the Colorado River reached Yuma. Uncle Sam was brought to the mouth of the river in sections on a schooner and assembled in Yuma.
On this date in 1927, Arizona became the first state to regulate and control airplanes engaged in the commercial transportation of passengers and freight.
Dec. 6
On this date in 1913, the U.S. District Court awarded the 100,000 remaining acres of the Baca Float grant in Southern Arizona to the heirs of the original grant
Jan. 18
On this day in 1854, the "General Jessup" river steamer was the first to reach the Black Canyon on the Colorado River.
Jan. 19
On this day in 1921, the Phoenix police chief issued an order that all pedestrians on the street after 8 p.m. were to be stopped and searched for concealed weapons in an effort to combat crime

February 2

On this day in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, which ended the war with Mexico

Feb. 8

  • On this day in 1881, Gila County was created from parts of Maricopa and Pinal Counties.
  • On this day in 1913, the University of Arizona unconditionally prohibited ragtime dancing and said all social functions must end by 11:30 p.m.
  • On this day in 1932, Winnie Ruth Judd was found guilty of murder by a jury of twelve men at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix.

Feb. 17
On this day in 1865, William Wrightson, who brought the first printing press to Arizona, and for whom Mount Wrightson is named, died.
On this day in 1908, Ellen Lynn was appointed the first woman mail carrier in Tucson, which she covered in a horse and buggy.
On this day in 1909, Geronimo died at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
On this day in 1913, a prehistoric graveyard was unearthed along Sycamore Creek near Prescott, revealing skeletons of people who appeared to be at least eight feet tall.

Feb. 18:
On this day in 1896, a dentist's ad in the Arizona Gazette offered silver fillings for $1.50 and extractions for 50 cents, with a Saturday special of 25 cents.
On this day in 1908, the school teacher of Greaterville filed charges against the saloonkeeper claiming he sold liquor to her students and they were coming to classes drunk.


Feb. 24

 On this date in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Territorial Act, creating the Territory of Arizona.
On this date in 1879, Apache County was created from Yavapai County.
On this date in 1897, reports came in from Tucson, Benson and Tombstone about a low-flying, brilliant meteor that passed overhead.
On this date in 1891, the Gila River rose to its highest recorded point at Ft. Thomas.
On this date in 1892, an earthquake was reported in Yuma.
On this date in 1901, the first Arizona state song, "Hail to Arizona, The Sun-Kissed Land" was sung at the dedication of the new Territorial Capitol, marking the first time the song was performed in public.
On this date in 1929, winds of up to 80 miles per hour leveled and closed the Pima County Fair.
On this date in 1977, Swift Trail Junction, six miles south of Safford, was hit by winds coming off Mt. Graham estimated at over 70 miles per hour. Six trailer homes were damaged, with one being blown 100 feet in the air.
March 11
On this date in 1931, the contract to construct Boulder Dam was awarded to Six Companies Inc. of San Francisco. The $48 million bid was the largest labor contract ever given by the federal government at the time.
On this date in 1913, the Guggenheim syndicate obtained an option on the Copper Chief Mine near Jerome, binding themselves to do $500,000 in development work on the mine.
March 9
On this date in 1864, the first issue of Arizona Miner was published at Fort Whipple by Richard C. McCormick, secretary of state for Territory of Arizona.
On this date in 1911, The Arizona Republic reported the death of a Papago Indian who had been charged with witchcraft by the people of his village He was executed by being tied to the tail of wild horse which was set loose in the desert.
On this date in 1920, the Bisbee Deportation case opened at the Tombstone Courthouse.
March 21, 2005
Railroad history

With Locomotive 1673 behind him, Tom Peterson delivers a speech marking Sunday's 125th anniversary of the arrival of the railroad in Tucson. Peterson is a retired Arizona Historical Society official.
March 18
On this date in 1901, the Saguaro Cactus Bloom was named the official state flower by the Territorial Legislature.
On this date in 1904, William C. Greene, owner of Greene Consolidated Copper Company of Cananea, brought in a chauffeur from New York to drive his $18,000 car. The chauffeur, who reportedly had two impressive holes in his head due to a collision with an ice wagon, terrified locals by hitting Naco Road doing 70 mph.
On this date in 1911, Theodore Roosevelt dedicated Roosevelt Dam, by starting the machinery that opened three gates to allow water to fill up Roosevelt Lake.
On this date in 1917, Corydon E. Cooley, Arizona pioneer, Army scout and good friend of the White Mountain Apache Indians, died
March 23

On this date in 1876, the first Mormon settlers reached Sunset Crossing on the Little Colorado River, where they would establish four settlements. The four companies, which included 50 men and their families, left Salt Lake City on Feb. 3, 1876.
On this date in 1877, John D. Lee, who in 1872 established and operated Lee's Ferry across the Colorado River, was executed for his participation in the Mountain Meadows massacre. He was seated upon his coffin and shot by a firing squad at the site of the massacre.
On this date in 1904, F.W. Volz loaned 5,000 pounds of the Canyon Diablo meteor to the Arizona Board of Managers of the World's Fair for display at St. Louis.
March 24

On this date in 1856, Sonora Exploring and Mining Company was organized in Cincinnati to develop silver mines in southern Arizona. The Heintzelman Mine, near Arivaca, was the company's first development.
On this date in 1902, Samuel Friedman, proprietor of the Grand Central Hotel at Benson and of several mining claims in the Dragoon Mountains, died.
March 25

On this date in 1901, prospectors discovered gold four miles from Wickenburg, sparking a rush of placer miners to the Hassayampa River.
On this date in 1902, The Arizona Daily Star reported that an oil gusher had been struck near Kelvin in Pinal County on land bonded to the Standard Oil Company.
On this date in 1906, Arizona Governor Joseph Henry Kibbey predicted that within five years, the cattle ranching industry would have given way entirely to ostrich ranching in Arizona.
April 12
On this date in 1886, General Nelson A. Miles arrived at Bowie Station to open a new campaign against the Apaches.
On this date in 1889, Flagstaff residents burned a statue of Gov. Lewis Wolfley to protest his veto of a bill that was to create Coconino County.
On this date in 1902, the Village of Yuma was incorporated as a town. It became a city in 1914.
On this date in 1910, A.W. Stewart, a Prescott electrician, built a new airship embodying the principals of the Wright Brothers machine, but with many new improvements of his own.
April 13
On this date in 1820, Thomas Gardner, one of the earliest pioneers in Santa Cruz County, was born.
On this date in 1892, Charles D. Poston filed a claim on land which he called "Hole-in-the-Rock." The land was set aside as the Papago Saguaro National Monument in 1914 and in 1930, became Papago Park.
On this date in 1905, the Arizona Dam on the Salt River was washed out.
On this date in 1917, the town of Florence turned on its first electric street lights.
On this date in 1926, the dome of the Yuma County Courthouse was struck by lightning and set on fire.
On this date in 1935, visibility was limited to less than five miles across most of the state as gritty clouds came into Arizona from New Mexico.
On this date in 1941, Roosevelt Lake filled to capacity for the first time since June 3, 1920.
April 15
On this date in 1911, President William Howard Taft announced he would veto the joint resolution of Congress providing statehood for Arizona because the proposed state constitution allowed for the recall of judges.
On this date in 1915, state offices were closed in the Salt River Valley as thousands gathered to witness the first spillage of water over Roosevelt Dam.
On this date in 1928, Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society and the Southern Pacific Railroad erected a stone shaft over the graves of Union soldiers who were killed in the skirmish with Confederate forces at Picacho Pass on April 15, 1862.
May 4

On this date in 1887, a heavy earthquake hit most of the state at 2:12 p.m. In Tucson the few two-story buildings swayed threateningly, clocks were stopped and entire mountain sides in the Catalinas gave way with great clouds of dust visible for days afterwards. Volcanoes were reported in the Dragoon Mountains and other mountain ranges.

On this date in 1897, the Tucson chief of police asked the city council for a horse and saddle or a buggy for patrolling the town, but his request was refused because it would cost $12 a month to feed the horse.

On this date in 1898, the Arizona Column of the Rough Riders left Prescott for Cuba amidst the greatest demonstration in that city's history.

On this date in 1919, Tucson boys from the 158th Infantry came home from France.

On this date in 1929, the largest single land deal in the history of Yuma County to that date was consummated with the sale of 30,000 acres of land in the San Christobal Valley to a California syndicate for the purpose of growing dates, citrus fruits and pecans.
May 5

On this date in 1910, Tucson citizens celebrated the opening of the Tucson-West Coast of Mexico Railroad.

On this date in 1917, the state legislature appropriated funds to purchase the old governor's mansion at Prescott with the provision that the property should be used as a museum.

On this date in 1929, a company with main offices is Tulsa, Okla., took over 79 mining claims in Chloride, Arizona. The combined mining claims had a shipping record of over a million dollars in copper, silver, lead and gold.
May 10

On this date in 1872, the Tully-Ochoa wagon train was attacked in Canyon del Oro by 300 Indians. Five men were killed and many more wounded, mules were stolen and the wagons burned.

*On this date in 1928, the University of Arizona Dean of Women decided that women must wear stockings, and could not appear on campus in abbreviated costumes.
May 13

On this date in 1846, President James K. Polk declared that a state of war existed between the United States and Mexico.
May 17

On this date in 1910, the police chief in Douglas arrested the mayor of Douglas on a charge of failing to hitch his horse.

On this date in 1910, a carload of wild broncos was shipped from Phoenix to New York where they would be ridden, three each day, at the New York Hippodrome by rodeo rider Bert Bryan.

On this date in 1931, Nogales dedicated its new international airport.

On this date in 1940, the University of Arizona radio bureau director said women are too artificial on the air to be successful.

On this date in 1900, an Arizona and New Mexico Railroad freight train crashed through a bridge near Clifton. Three people were killed and nine injured.

On this date in 1910, the Hotel Adams in Phoenix was destroyed by fire, with the loss estimated at $275,000 and two people killed. Gov. and Mrs. Sloan, who were living in the hotel made their escape without injury.

June 6
On this date in 1851, Camp Independence was established on the east bank of the Colorado River near its junction with the Gila River under the command of Lt. Thomas W. Sweeny. Camp Independence was replaced by Fort Yuma in December, 1851.

On this date in 1888, the downtown section of Holbrook was destroyed by a fire originating in a wool warehouse.

On this date in 1903, Gov. Brodie ordered the Arizona Rangers to Morenci and Clifton where miners were striking.

On this date in 1933, the first concrete was poured at Hoover Dam.

On this date in 1936, the first barrel of tequila made in the United States was produced at the San Andres distillery in Nogales.

July 14
On this date in 1859, Alexander John Chandler, first veterinary surgeon in Arizona, the introducer of long staple cotton, builder of the Consolidated Canal and San Marcos Resort Hotel and founder of Chandler, was born.

On this date in 1862, advance troops of the California Column were ambushed in Apache Pass by Indians led by Cochise and Mangus Coloradas. The Apaches were finally driven off, but they surrounded the spring in the pass, keeping the troops from the water. The Apaches were finally dislodged from the rocks around the spring with the use of howitzers which the Indians had never seen before.

On this date in 1865, three Hualapai chiefs granted right of way for the Mojave-Prescott toll road to William H. Hardy in exchange for $150 in merchandise.

On this date in 1883, the city of Mesa was incorporated.

On this date in 1898, Jean Baptiste Salpointe, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Arizona, died.

On this date in 1960, a Navajo forked pole hogan was tree ring dated to 1387, the earliest date on record.
July 22
On this date in 1893, the city of Nogales was incorporated.

On this date in 1898, the Phoenix Daily Herald announced the marriage of Thomas Sorin, a prominent developer of Cochise County copper mines, to Sarah Herring, Arizona's first woman attorney.
August 5
On this date in 1892, Grady Gammage, former president of Arizona State College, now Arizona State University, was born.

On this date in 1895, Pete Kitchen, one of the earliest ranchers in the Santa Cruz Valley, died.

On this date in 1911, William C. Greene of the Greene Cattle Co. and the Greene Cananea Copper Co. died after being thrown from a buggy.

On this date in 1917, the first Arizona Regiment was drafted into the United States Army. By the end of World War I, 8,113 men in Arizona had entered the National Guard, 1,854 were in the regular army, 1,269 in the Navy and 147 in the Marines. Three hundred and twenty-one Arizonans died in military service.

On this date in 1931, the Southern Pacific passenger train, The Argonaut, was derailed east of Yuma, killing two and injuring 15
Aug. 18

On this date in 1868, Columbus and Marcy Adeline Gray, the first white settlers in what is now Phoenix, arrived in the Salt River Valley and pitched their tent on a little hill near the river.

On this date in 1921, a plague of rabid dogs in Tucson forced police officers to cruise the city and kill every dog running loose on the streets
Sept. 1

On this date in 1865, the first public mail to reach Tucson since the beginning of the Civil War arrived from California.

On this date in 1876, Dr. Nelson Bledsoe, former chief surgeon of the Calumet and Arizona Mining Co. at Bisbee and for many years a practicing physician in Southern Arizona, was born.

On this date in 1894, a cloudburst in the Graham Mountains swept Willcox with two feet of water, causing the adobe buildings in town to crumble away.

On this date in 1932, fire on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon destroyed the main dining room and cottages valued at more than $500,000.