Phoenix by comparison to cities from around the world, is a young city, but with an ancient history. Not many cities can claim such a thing. When Phoenix was founded, The United States was entering one of the deadliest wars to date, the Civil War. After the war, the country, still healing as a nation coupled with the prospect of wealth and riches in the gold rush, sent people flocking to the west, and Phoenix boomed. The question begs to be asked, why stop in the middle of a desert? This was before the comfort of air conditioning and automotive transportation. What would have made settlers so willing to stay in an arid desert environment? The answer is found in an ancient society known as the Hohokam. This Native American tribe settled the area where Phoenix now stands over 2600 years ago, around the time of 200-300 BC. This sophisticated tribe of people created a society that thrived in the arid Sonora desert for over 1700 years. The Hohokam built over 300 miles of irrigation canals to divert the Salt River to hydrate their fields of, Squash, corn, beans and water their animals. The canals were 15 feet wide by 10 feet deep and supplied an abundant amount of water to the civilization, enough in fact that population of the Hohokam grew to number close to 100,000 people. They built adobe structures from clay bricks which insulated them from the heat of the summers, crafted pottery, farmed cotton, and pioneered woven cotton materials. The Canals built by that ancient civilization where once again cleared out and used to build another city, the Phoenix that rose from the ancient ashes.
150 years after its founding, Phoenix is a bustling metropolitan area with a population of more than 1.5 million and growing. Phoenix is the capitol of the state of Arizona and the seat of Maricopa County and is listed as the sixth largest city is the United States. Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, and Phoenix are just a few of the cities that make up the 517 square mile metropolitan area that serve as home to more than half of the population of the state. The Gold Rush brought the people and the industry followed. Mining has historically been one of the crucial industries to form the backbone of the state economy, Arizona is known as the Copper state, but that is not to say that it has not produced its share of gold. In fact Arizona has reportedly produced 16 million troy ounces of gold since 1774 and continued to do so until 1998 when the last gold mine shut down; now all of Arizona’s gold production is a byproduct of the Copper industry. Like the ancient Hohokam the founders of Phoenix grew cotton and it has become another one of the industries to be crucial to the state economy. The temperate climate of the valley provides three other profitable resources, the right conditions for the growth of citrus, the herding of cattle, and the climate itself. With over 300 days of sunshine and lower risk of natural disaster Phoenix becomes a desirable place for those looking to get away from the frigid colder climates. All of these comprise Arizona’s 5 C’s, Citrus, Copper, Cotton, Climate, and Cattle the baseline for the economy. Add Tourism and Technology and Phoenix has the right formula for prosperous economic growth.
Economic wealth brings with it a rich and varied culture. Phoenix boasts a plethora of museums, theatres, music venues, and is home to Arizona State University. A person new to Phoenix can feed the artistic need at the Phoenix Art Museum, watch a play, or ballet at the Herberger Theatre, and listen to a concert at the Phoenix Symphony Hall. Taliesin West, the winter home of architect Frank Lloyd Write, is located in Scottsdale Arizona. Frank Lloyd Write also designed many of the buildings in the valley, and the Frank Lloyd Write foundation is headquartered here. For a taste of Native American Culture one can visit the Heard Museum and the Pueblo Grande Museum to see artifacts from the ancient Hohokam and other native tribes. For those who are sports enthusiasts, Phoenix has a number of stadiums, including the US Airways Center, Jobing.com Arena, University of Phoenix Stadium and Sun Devil Stadium. Phoenix is home to the Phoenix Suns, The Arizona Cardinals, and The Arizona Diamondbacks. Besides the home teams Phoenix also hosts a number of spring training camps including the Oakland A’s and the Kansas City Royals. The sporting Crown Jewel of the valley of the sun however, is the golf courses. Golf courses can be found all over Arizona, but Phoenix is crème de la crème of luxurious golf courses, offering more than 190 different courses, and giving the opportunity of a balmy back nine in the middle of December. For those athletes who cannot get enough of the outdoors, Phoenix has numerous hiking trails and is surrounded by hills and mountains offering spectacular views and challenging hikes to even the most experienced person. Prickly pear, cholla, barrel cactus, and giant Saguaros that live to be 200 years old or older are sprinkled throughout the desert which is home to owls, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and Gila Monsters. The mountain ranges are home to mountain lions, black bears, elk, wolves and javelina. From the Art lover to the Sports enthusiast Phoenix has a lot to offer and is a wonderful place to call home.