Thursday, September 18, 2014

historyBlog

 

Dam Well Built

Celebrating its 100th birthday this year, Roosevelt Dam has provided the Valley with water, power and a lush history.

On March 18, 1911, President Theodore Roosevelt came out West and, in front of about a thousand onlookers, gratefully christened his namesake.
Not a stuffed toy bear, but another, much bigger namesake.

 

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Bombs for Water?

Arizona has produced some bizarre ideas, but perhaps none of them is stranger than a 1960s plan to detonate atomic bombs near Phoenix to help supply the Valley with water.

The audacious idea began in 1964 with the formation of the Arizona Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC) to “encourage more development and uses of atomic energy in Arizona,” according to its pamphlet, The Peaceful Atom in Arizona. In 1967, the AAEC stated that nuclear explosions might prove more economical than traditional construction methods for creating reservoirs and water transmission tunnels for the Central Arizona Project, which would transport water uphill from the Colorado River to Phoenix. Although some federal officials thought the idea had merit, the AAEC didn’t persuade the Arizona Interstate Stream Commissioners, who were in charge of the project.

 

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Scottsdale Charros

The Scottsdale Charros have grown beyond promoting baseball to include philanthropy. Although they still do an annual trail ride, the group is hardly fading into the sunset.


Professional baseball had already been causing spring fever in Scottsdale for several years by the early 1960s. The Baltimore Orioles moved their spring training home there from Yuma in 1956, bringing along newcomer and future hall of famer Brooks Robinson. The Boston Red Sox took their place three years later after the Orioles left.

That era of spring training would be almost unrecognizable from what it has become today. Scottsdale Stadium was made of wood and painted by hand. And there were only a few major league teams training in Arizona, so they occasionally played semi-pro clubs for the extra practice.

 

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Sign Language

For 30-plus years, a pianist mounted hundreds of Homemade street signs across the Valley to guide motorists and promote his unique road numbering system.


Most people would be pleased just to properly organize their garage, or even a closet or two. Not Dennis “Denny” Gleason. The talented ragtime pianist who couldn’t read a note of music had a grander goal:

 

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