Centennial Minute: Statehood

February 14, 2012
This month, Arizona turns 100. KJZZ  is marking the centennial each week in February with stories of our state’s history, people and places. We're calling it the Centennial Minute. This morning, authors and Arizona residents Fred DuVal and Lisa Schnebly Heidinger tell us about that unique Valentine’s Day – 100 years ago.

FRED DUVAL: Arizona became a state on Valentine’s Day 1912.

That date was chosen because it marked a half-century since we’d become a territory…Arizona was made a Confederate Territory on Feb. 14 in 1862.

You know, on Statehood day, there wasn’t a lot of fanfare. Gov. George W. P. Hunt walked more than a mile to the State Capitol to sign the papers.

We do know the occasion of Arizona’s statehood got some brand new media attention. President Taft’s signing of the papers was the first time motion pictures were taken inside the White House.

One of the people waiting for the news was a three-year-old boy named Barry Goldwater, who was going to be a ring-bearer at a local wedding. The bride and groom wanted to wait until Arizona was a state before getting married in it.

LISA SCHNEBLY HEIDINGER: So many Arizonans had no idea their home’s status had changed from territory to state. In this rural part of the country, some people were too far from a town to hear the bells and whistles and firearms celebrating statehood.

On Feb. 14, we’re all being asked by the Centennial Commission to make a lot of noise again, at 2:14 in the afternoon…and there will be fireworks.

In the past century, Arizona’s wide open spaces became a bit more crowded with copper, citrus, cotton, cattle, and tourism. And we’re still evolving. What will the state’s next century bring?

Lisa Schnebly Heidinger and Fred DuVal are co-authors of “Calling Arizona Home.”