Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Arizona!

Welcome to my Arizona!

Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, and it achieved statehood on February 14, 1912. Arizona is the sixth most extensive and the 16th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. The second largest city is Tucson.

Arizona is noted for its desert climate in its southern half, where there are very hot summers and quite mild winters. The northern half of Arizona also features forests of pine, Douglas fir, and spruce trees, a very large, high plateau (the Colorado Plateau) and some mountain ranges—such as the San Francisco Mountains—as well as large, deep canyons, where there is much more moderate weather for three seasons of the year, plus significant snowfalls. There are ski resorts in the areas of Flagstaff and Alpine. Arizona is one of the Four Corners states, meaning that we touch borders on our north eastern section with Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

Over one hundred years ago, the cream of the Arizona Territory's manhood gathered in Phoenix, writing a constitution they hoped would bring statehood.
Saguaro Sunset

Back in 1891, territorial residents had been so certain statehood was imminent, they'd actually written a constitution and took it on the train to Washington, where congressmen snubbed their noses at these upstarts from that arid wasteland out West known more for Geronimo and the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral than for the kind of folks you'd want in your union.

But things changed and Arizona had gained some respectability, some friends in Washington, and this time, Arizona wasn't jumping the gun. Congress had actually passed and President William Howard Taft had signed the Enabling Act that directed the Arizona Territory to write a state constitution - even allocating a princely $100,000 for that end.

Congress directed that the delegates meet in Phoenix - and that Phoenix be the capital of the new state at least until 1925. And so, on Oct. 10, 1910, 52 men from 13 counties came together for the first time. (Greenlee County couldn't send a delegate because it had just been created, and women didn't have a voice because they didn't yet have the right to vote.)

The most populous county had the most delegates, and in those days, that was Cochise County, where the mining interests of Bisbee and Tombstone were paramount. Agricultural Maricopa County had nine delegates. Families that would become legends in Arizona were represented: Goldwater, Orme, Tovrea. They were led by Globe's George W.P. Hunt, who would become the state's first governor and whose white-pyramid tomb in Papago Park still looks down on the Capitol City.
Meteor Crater

The Rev. Seaborn Crutchfield of Tempe gave the opening prayer as the convention began: "As King Solomon prayed for guidance to wisely rule a great people, so we ask Thee to direct us in the adoption of a wise and just constitution."

And they were off: a motley crew far that was more indebted to labor unions and the working man than to the businesses and mines that thought they ran things in Arizona. The Arizona Democrat, a Phoenix paper that wouldn't last beyond 1913, reported: "A count of noses shows that about 40 percent of the delegates are men worth $30,000 or more. Better crowd than we thought they were at first."

A vast majority, 41 to be exact, were Democrats who looked toward "progressive" legislation - a word more "sane conservatives" saw as "reckless." They debated, but rejected, women suffrage; debated, but rejected, segregated schools; debated, but passed, three citizen-empowerment measures that were seen as radical: the right of people to petition their government, called an initiative; the right of the government to refer an item directly to voters, called a referendum, and the most startling of all - what opponents called "ultra-radicalism" - the right of voters to recall judges they saw as unfit.

With the constitution now meeting Taft's approval, he signed Arizona's statehood bill the morning of Feb. 14, 1912 - ushering in the best party ever held in these parts.

And, oh yes, at its first election after statehood in the fall of 1912, Arizona voters reinstated the recall of judges into the state Constitution. They also, by a healthy margin, gave Arizona women the right to vote - eight years before national suffrage.

It would be the first time, but certainly not the last, that Arizona showed its independence!

For all of the landmass of the state of Arizona, we have merely fifteen counties: Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai, and Yuma.

Yuma County was the site of the original Yuma Territorial Prison. When teaching a class in Florence for the Department of Corrections, I visited the Warden and saw pictures of original inmates from the Yuma Territorial Prison. Every one of the women’s pictures listed their crime as adultery. I asked the Warden, “Where are the men’s pictures? It takes two!” He had no answer for me.

This weekend we begin our celebration of Arizona’s Centennial with a parade. Our local Grand Marshal is Lavona Evans who is also one hundred years old. Her father named gave her this name by reversing the first three letters of Valentine’s Day and then adding ‘ona’ for Arizona’s statehood. Ms. Evans was actually our first landlord when we moved to Arizona. She was spry twenty one years ago and remains so to this day! The same can be said for our state.

Happy One Hundredth Birthday Arizona! I am delighted to be part of your community.

An Arizona Recipe!

Goldwater Beans (from my Mom - Dolores Repp)

2 lbs. pinto beans
1 can (24 oz) tomatoes
1 lg. onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped 
1 can (4 oz) El Pato jalapeƱo tomato sauce
1 can (4 oz) diced, roasted, green chilies
2 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
½ tsp. ground cumin
Optional: 2 lbs. ground beef, browned  

Soak the beans in cold water overnight. Wash. Cover with cold water to 2 inches over the top of the beans and boil for one hour. Add the other ingredients. Reduce the heat and cook 4-6 hours more. If desired, add the browned ground beef.  NOTE: If I use the ground beef, I brown the onion and garlic with it.

This is a good recipe for the Crockpot and yields about 24 servings.

Isaiah 43:19
New King James Version

Behold, I will do a new thing, 
Now it shall spring forth; 
Shall you not know it? 
I will even make a road in the wilderness 
And rivers in the desert.

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Amazing facts here, Tamara. I smiled when I read that the Arizona votes reinstated the recall of judges.
    Also amazing is the number of counties in Arizona. I had to read that number twice. For such a large state, that is a small number of counties. Georgia (where I live) has 159 counties. To me, that is too many. Fewer would be better, but I don't think that will ever change.
    Happy birthday, Arizona. I've always thought that Arizona has some of the most beautiful scenery in the US. I would love to visit there.
    Hugs and smiles to you, my friend.
    P.S. I am soooo into using my crockpot now. I've used it twice a week for the past several weeks. I love it and will try these beans. Sounds like this recipie has a KICK to it!! :)))

    1. The beans do have an Arizona kick! And they are sooooo good! I like to serve whole wheat tortilla with them and just a sprinkle of cheese on the bowl of beans. You know Jackie, if you do ever come to the Land of AZ, we could actually meet! You would most definitely need to bring your camera to photograph the scenery.

    2. Love to meet you, Tamara. I will for sure let you know if/when my hubby and I travel this great country and are in AZ. I had a friend in middle school whose Dad lived in AZ. He would send photos (at that time it was slides) of AZ to her, and she would share them with our class, and I can remember looking at the sunsets and the sky and thinking that was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. I look forward to seeing you one day, my friend.

    3. And if not 'here' then 'there'! Ahhhh, sweet eternity!

  2. Happy Birthday, Arizona!
    Very interesting read here, Tamara. Ray & I always talk about traveling to Arizona, I just love the desert landscape. Another blogger posts pictures of her area in Arizona and it is really breathtaking! We've never been West, but it's on my bucket list!

    Imprisoned for adultery, but ONLY the women! The men were innocent victims? It figures.

    Very nice post!
    Love and Prayers,

    1. Eileen, Arizona has not only breathtaking sunsets, but the sunrises are most awesome! We are surrounded by mountains and have the third highest peak in AZ with our Mt. Graham at 10,300 ft. I see this peak from my patio every single day. In doing a panoramic 360 degree turn, I have a mountain range in every vista. The sun sets behind our Mt. Graham and it casts a wonderful reddened glow on the other range which gives a momentary look of 'red rocks' like those in Sedona, Az.

      If you do make it to AZ, we have to meet!

  3. Mmmm, the recipe sounds delicious. I will try anything crock pot! What an amazing history Arizona has. One of the few states I haven't been, at least that I can remember. We may have traveled through when I was a young girl. Great history Tamara! Love Di ♥

    1. Thanks Di! And the beans are amazing! I think I mentioned earlier that I like them with whole wheat tortilla and cheese!

  4. Sounds a little like chili? I WILL try it.
    And re. Arizona...I can't imagine a better place to retire ('cept none of our children and grands live anywhere close to it).

    1. It is a SW Chili! We do have lot's of Snowbirds here since the winters are so mild comparatively. I trek up the mountain about 38 mi. to work and just the other day we had chunky snow that lasted a few hours! It was cold, cold, cold for my AZ. On the trek home one day this week a mountain lion crossed the highway in front of me in merely two bounds! It was a spectacular sight! I wish I would have had a camera handy.


Thank you for stopping in. Your comments are a source of encouragement.