Here's What Happened This Week In Arizona History: Dec.15-21

By Associated Press
Published: Sunday, December 15, 2019 - 6:05am
Updated: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 1:09pm

Here's a look back at the interesting — and sometimes unusual — events this week in Arizona history.

Dec. 15

On this date in 1871, the first telegraph station in Arizona Territory was set up at Pipe Springs in the Arizona Strip.

On this date in 1878, Edith Stratton Kitt, daughter of a pioneer Arizona mining family, was born. She was secretary of the Arizona Historical Society, collecting thousands of biographies of Arizonans for its files.

On this date in 1899, the Gila Valley Bank was founded at Solomonville. The doors opened to the public Jan. 16, 1900. It was the first of what would become the Valley National Bank.

On this date in 1903, Billy Stiles and Burt Alvord, convicted train robbers, broke out of the Tombstone jail and took 11 other prisoners with them.

On this date in 1914, Gov. George W.P. Hunt issued a proclamation announcing that the newly created Board of Pardons and Parole was in operation.

On this date in 1918, the 158th Arizona Infantry was chosen as the Guard of Honor for President Woodrow Wilson while he attended the peace conference in Paris.

On this date in 1919, the U.S. Marshal confiscated 8,000 gallonsof wine in the Globe District and poured it all in Pinal Creek.

On this date in 1928, Westward Ho Hotel in Phoenix opened with a gala celebration.

Westward Ho Hotel
Mark Brodie/KJZZ
Westward Ho Hotel in downtown Phoenix.

Dec. 16

On this date in 1902, Hi-Jolly, a Greek camel driver who came to Arizona with the first shipment of camels intended for experimental use as pack animals, died.

On this date in 1929, Congress authorized funds to expand the U.S. Veterans Hospital at Tucson to accommodate 100 additional beds.

On this date in 1929, U.S. Customs agents and border smugglers fought a blazing gun battle at Ajo. The smugglers escaped, leaving bloodstains on the ground to indicate they might have suffered casualties.

On this date in 1938, the first Navajo Tribal Fair was held at Window Rock.

Dec. 17

On this date in 1846, Lt. Col. Phillip St. George Cooke and the Mormon Battalion took possession of Tucson and raised the American flag without encountering resistance.

On this date in 1864, the town of Callville was settled on the Colorado River by the Mormons as a landing site for river steamers.

On this date in 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt established Tonto National Monument.

 Lower Cliff Dwelling
J. Smith/National Park Service
Lower Cliff Dwelling at the Tonto National Monument.

On this date in 1920, state leaders held a banquet in Phoenix and formed an Arizona unit of Boy Scouts.

On this date in 1923, figures showed that Arizona led the nation in effectiveness of prohibition enforcement. Convictions were estimated at 97 percent.

On this date in 1929, it was announced that the Tucson Municipal Airport had accommodated a total of 1,977 airplanes at the field from the time of its opening in October 1925.

Dec. 18

On this date in 1924, elaborate plans for a spectacular drive of 5,000 Kaibab deer across the Colorado River to new grazing lands were frustrated when the animals stampeded in a blinding snowstorm and disappeared.

On this date in 1929, seven prisoners escaped from the Maricopa County Jail by crawling through a small opening they had sawed from cell block.

On this date in 1933, the building and plant of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson were totally destroyed by fire. The Star continued to publish at the Tucson Citizen plant.

Dec. 19

On this date in 1874, after two trials, J.T. Holmes was finally convicted of the killing of Milton B. Duffield, former U.S. Marshal, in a quarrel over a mining claim. Holmes was sentenced to three years in prison.

On this date in 1909, two trainmen were killed and 40 passengers injured when the Southern Pacific jumped the tracks near Benson.

On this date in 1917, the governor of Arizona offered a $250 reward for the arsonist who set fires which destroyed hay fields in the Salt River Valley and attempted twice to burn the new Phoenix YMCA building.

On this date in 1929, a fire of undetermined origin partially disrupted the water supply and destroyed two buildings in the business district of Chloride, causing $40,000 damage.

Dec. 20

On this date in 1871, Theodore Swift who became Forest Service Supervisor and established the road to the top of Mt. Graham which bears his name, the Swift Trail.

On this date in 1888, work was begun on a bridge across the Colorado River at Needles.

On this date in 1914, it rained in Phoenix for 72 consecutive hours, causing the reservoir behind Roosevelt Dam to gain 40,000 acre-feet in one day.

Roosevelt Dam
Salt River Project
Roosevelt Dam near Phoenix, which supplies water to central and southern Arizona.

On this date in 1925, 1,200 boxes of dynamite exploded at the United Verde Copper mine causing $20,000 damage to walls and window glass in Jerome.

On this date in 1929, the town of Miami discovered it would need heavier manhole covers when the Arizona Road Department's electric magnet was put to work picking up nails and metal scraps from the city's streets. The machine picked up all the manhole covers along its route.

Dec. 21

On this date in 1920, educational circles were horrified when only five applicants were able to pass the teacher's examination in Maricopa County and none could pass at all in Pima County.

On this date in 1929, two miners were killed when an explosion was set off prematurely in the Blue Bird Mine, 12 miles east of Mammoth.

On this date in 1929, Dr. O.A. Turney, a Phoenix resident for 42 years and a prominent archaeologist who traced the prehistoric canals in the Salt River Valley, died.

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