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Scottsdale began as a home for the Hokoham, indigenous people who built irrigation canals to support their active agricultural lifestyle which is still observable on the Salt River Reservation to the east of the downtown city. The modern ancestors of the Hohokam are the Pima, a tribe of about 5,000 living and working on the reservation. The enterprising Pima operate Casino Arizona at Salt River and Talking Stick casinos off the 101 Freeway. A museum-calibre collection of contemporary and modern Native artwork is featured in Casino Arizona on view 24 hrs. daily, and a small tribal cultural museum located at the reservation city center provides historical and archaeological history of the Hohokam and Pima cultures.
In 1888, Winfield Scott, a U.S. Army Chaplain, paid $2.50 an acre for a 640-acre parcel of land that is essential now Scottsdale.
Scott’s brother became the first resident of the town and within one year, he had cleared the land, built irrigation ditches and planted hundreds of acres of barley, citrus and other crops.
In 1909, “The Little Red Schoolhouse” was built in the newly named Scottsdale. It was the first school in town, with 32 pupils when it opened. Today it houses the Scottsdale Historical Society.
Scottsdale was incorporated in 1955 when there were 2,000 residents. A year later, a Life Magazine article listed Scottsdale as one of the most desirable places to live and the town quickly saw a population boom. By 1960, the population was 10,000 and by 1970, it was 67,000.
Today, Scottsdale is still considered one of the most desirable places to live in America (it was given a “livable city award by the Council of Mayors in 1993), with its temperate weather and multitude of activities. It has become a mecca for growing families, sun seekers on vacation and golfers and others who need or require sun for their activities.