History of Scottsdale, Arizona
Before European settlement, Scottsdale was a Pima village known as Vaṣai S-vaṣonĭ, meaning "rotting hay." Some Pima remained in their original homes well into the 20th century. For example, until the late 1960s, there was a still-occupied traditional dwelling on the southeast corner of Indian Bend Road and Hayden Road. Currently, those Pima who live within Scottsdale reside in newer homes rather than traditional dwellings. Many Pima and Maricopa people continue to reside on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which borders Scottsdale directly to the east.
Early history and establishment
The first white company staked claim in the region in 1868. Jack Swilling set up the Swilling Irrigation Canal Company to refurbish and improve upon the ancient irrigation system originally constructed by the Hohokam. However, the influx of Anglos would not significantly increase until twenty years later. In the early 1880s, U.S. Army Chaplain, Winfield Scott, who was lured in to help promote Phoenix and the surrounding area, was impressed with the region and paid the paltry sum of $2.50 an acre for a 640-acre (2.6 km2) stretch of land where the city is now located. Winfield's brother, George Washington Scott, became the first resident of the town, which was then known as Orangedale. The Scott brothers were known as adept farmers, capable of cultivating citrus fruits, figs, potatoes, peanuts and almonds in the desert town. Scott was known to have encouraged others to create a desert farming community in the region. The town's name was changed to Scottsdale in 1894.
By 1912, the Ingleside Inn, located just south of the Arizona Canal and west of the Crosscut Canal (Indian School Road at about 64th Street) in what is today Scottsdale was billed as metro Phoenix's first resort. Also in 1912, both the Phoenix Street Railway Company and a competitor, the Salt River Valley Electric Railway Company, proposed building streetcar lines to Scottsdale but due to an economic downturn, neither was built. In 1937, internationally renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright set up his "winter camp" at the foot of the McDowell Mountains, establishing what is now known as Taliesin West. Scottsdale and the rest of Phoenix have seen an everlasting influence from Frank Lloyd Wright. Many buildings throughout the region were designed by the famous architect. His significant influence on the regional architecture is commemorated through a major street which bears his name and a 125-foot (38 m) spire memorial in North Scottsdale. The city was incorporated on June 25, 1951. The seal, depicting a mounted cowboy surrounded by a 64-pointed starburst, was designed by Mrs. Gene Brown Pennington.
Development of Indian Bend Wash, 1950s–1970s
Indian Bend Wash, a rarely flowing river (completely dry otherwise), bisects the city lengthwise. However, the normally dry riverbed occasionally carried a significant river of water during rare but recurring periods of heavy rains, also known as the "99 Year Floods", which flowed into the long dammed up Salt River. Due to its population primarily composed of lower middle class suburbanites at the time, the city lacked funds to construct bridges over the rarely running, normally dry river.
In the 1960s, the Indian Bend Wash flowed more and more frequently, creating a succession of floods several times over the decade that were only supposed to occur every 99 years. Federal tax dollars were allocated to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to cement Indian Bend Wash as a large canal, and build bridges, similar to the storm drains of Los Angeles, but using wider canals. This would permit the condemnation and purchase of homes in the Wash that the Federal government was required, under the Federal flood insurance laws at the time, to rebuild each time the Wash flowed. However, it was later determined that grass could channel the water as effectively as a cement canal, and a vote was held to determine whether to allocate Federal money towards a system of parks and golf courses or a cement canal.
Despite the community's support for the system of parks and golf courses, the Army Corps favored the canal as a tried and true approach. The concept of utilizing grass to channel flood water in a wash was untried and feared to increase maintenance and upkeep costs. In a controversial move, the city ultimately voted to install the system of parks and golf courses in the Wash. The system of parks and golf courses which worked as flood control channel became known as the Scottsdale Greenbelt. The Scottsdale Greenbelt was extremely successful, coinciding with the mass production of affordable heat pump air conditioners in the 1950s. Scottsdale quickly became a popular city for new family and retiree transplants. Today, the 12-mile (19 km) long Scottsdale Greenbelt connects four city parks - Vista del Camino Park, Eldorado Park, Indian School Park and Chaparral Park - through a 25-mile (40 km) bike path.
Development of McCormick Ranch and redevelopment of Arts Center Area, 1970s–1980s
In 1970, Anne McCormick, the owner of McCormick Ranch, a 4,236 acre ranch serving much of the eastern boundary of Scottsdale, died. The property was sold to Kaiser-Aetna for $12.1 million. In coordination with the city, Kaiser-Aetna developed a master plan for the property. At the time, the sale of McCormick Ranch was the country's largest single piece of property sold for a planned community within city limits. The McCormick Ranch/Scottsdale Ranch area was developed into homes, recreational parks and business parks. The planned community also opened with three resorts, two 18-hole golf courses and 130 man-made lakes, two of which used for sailing and many stocked with fish. This influx of development changed the complexion of Scottsdale's city council and ultimately the landscape of the city itself.
Starting in the late 1970s, property values in downtown Scottsdale had risen enough that the city began to condemn property that housed a number of old, established Scottsdale institutions, including the first high school, Scottsdale High. Students and resident rallied to defend the high school and successfully kept it opened several years past the time the city planned to close it down. Its last year of operation was 1983 and it was demolished in several bursts of activity. For a while the original building that had formed the core of the high school upon its founding in 1922 was preserved, boarded-up, while residents attempted to get it in the historic register. But the city's plans for demolishing much of original old-town Scottsdale and replacing it with high-end, high-dollar tourist facilities finally won out.
Because of the rising status of the city, the developers were able to upgrade the homes built in what became the McCormick Ranch/Scottsdale Ranch portions of the city, which subsequently opened up Scottsdale to the north and added a wide eastern portion, bulging on the middle of the map shown above. The nouveau riche that quickly filled these more expensive homes earned the city several nicknames, including "Snottsdale" or "Snobbsdale".
From its official incorporation in 1951 with a population of 2000, the city of Scottsdale has grown to a 2010 Census of 217,385. It is now the state's sixth-largest city. Scottsdale is commonly defined by its high quality of life, and in 1993 was named the "Most Livable City", in the United States by the United States Conference of Mayors. This title is notoriously lampooned across the state because of the high cost of living in Scottsdale. It is continually ranked as one of the premier golf and resort destinations in the world, with a sizable portion of tax revenue being derived from tourism.: It is also home to the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament held at the Tournament Players Club every year and the Barrett Jackson car show held at WestWorld.
The city is loosely divided into four areas: South Scottsdale (McKellips Road north to Thomas Road), Old Town (Downtown) Scottsdale, Central Scottsdale (also known as the "Shea Corridor", extending from Camelback Road north to Shea Boulevard), and North Scottsdale. The real estate market in Scottsdale is among the most expensive in the United States. In 2005, Scottsdale was among the top ten markets in the nation for luxury home sales, and one of two cities outside of California. Scottsdale was ranked tenth with $594 million in luxury home sales.:
Old Town Scottsdale
South Scottsdale has for many years been the working class region of Scottsdale, although today it is gentrifying. It contains the major nightlife for the area and is a major art center of metro Phoenix. The median resale home price is $291,500, compared to $667,450 in North Scottsdale. A portion of McDowell Road in South Scottsdale used to be known as "Motor Mile", having at one time 31 dealerships represented along the street. The strip, at one time, generated over $10 million in sale tax revenue each year and was one of the most profitable auto-miles in the United States. In recent years, many of these dealerships have left the city, including 6 in 2008 alone. South Scottsdale is the home to a new research center for Arizona State University, known as SkySong, a collaboration between the university, local business, and global companies. The development has attracted the research and development arms of a number of international corporations.
Old Town Scottsdale is an area with many streets, old fashion stores, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and western art galleries evoking the old cowboy era. Scottsdale's main cultural district is also in this area, which includes the high-end Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, one of the twenty largest malls in the United States,. The district has currently seen a revival, with new condominiums and hotels under construction.
The Shea Corridor is so named because it is in close proximity to the east-west running Shea Boulevard. The homes in this region were generally built during the 1970s. Real estate in the Shea Corridor (Central Scottsdale) has increased during the 1990s, and overall, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale real estate market saw the largest gain in home prices in the nation during the mid-2000s with a 38.4% increase in value. There are a number of communities in this central region of Scottsdale that remain among the most highly-desired residential areas in the metropolitan area, including Gainey Ranch and McCormick Ranch. A large portion of Scottsdale Road in the Shea Corridor has been dubbed the Resort Corridor for the high number of resorts locating on the street. The second Ritz Carlton in the Phoenix metropolitan area will be constructed along this corridor.
North Scottsdale is currently the most actively developed area of Scottsdale as it was historically the least built up. This portion of the city also claims many of the most expensive homes in Arizona, with many exceeding $5 million in value. The city's borders are rapidly expanding to the east and west in this area, containing the McDowell Mountain range. Much of the residential boom in North Scottsdale is driven by available land to build coupled with the fast growth of Scottsdale Airpark, the second largest employment center in the Phoenix metropolitan, and estimated to become the largest by 2010. The Scottsdale Airpark, home to over 55,000 employees, 2,600 businesses and 23,000,000 square feet (2,100,000 m2) of office space is expected to continue growing by over 3,000 employees per year. Many important companies are headquartered or have regional headquarters in the park, including AXA, GE Capital, DHL, Discount Tire Company, Fidelity Investments, JDA Software, GoDaddy.com, and The Vanguard Group.
As of the census of 2010, there were 217,385 people, there are 69,967 owner-occupied housing, 32,306 renter occupied, and 101,273 households residing in the city. The population density was 1,181.4 inhabitants per square mile (455.6/km²). There were 124,001 housing units at an average density of 673.9 per square mile (259.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.27% White, 1.67% Black or African American, 0.80% Native American, 3.33% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 2.54% from other races, and 2.28% from two or more races. 8.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 101,290 households out of which 20.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them. According the 2010 census 51.7% of Scottsdale's population were females, while 48.3% were males. In the city the population was spread out with 17.7% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 20 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 49, 22.8% from 50 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $70,533, and the median income for a family was $92,289. The per capita income for the city was $49,158. About 3.4% of families and 5.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.4% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.
The tourism industry is Scottsdale's primary employer, accounting for 39% of the city's workforce. In 2005, Scottsdale attracted over 7.5 million visitors to the city, providing an economic impact of over $3.1 billion. The city of Scottsdale by itself is home to more than 70 resorts and hotels, boasting over 15,000 hotel rooms. This large hospitality market primarily caters to a higher-end, white-collar demographic.
The city of Scottsdale is third, after New York City and Las Vegas respectively, as having the most AAA Five-Diamond hotels and resorts in the United States. In 2008, AAA bestowed five such properties in Scottsdale with the highest honor: The Phoenician, The Canyon Suites, Scottsdale Camelback Inn, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, and the Fairmont Princess Resort and Spa.
Scottsdale boasts the highest number of destination spas per capita of any city in the United States. The region's year-round warm weather and abundant sunshine is a major factor in Scottsdale's tourism appeal. In particular, during the winter, thousands of wealthy tourists from the midwest, the northeast, and as far away as Canada, flood the area with long-term visits (known locally as "snowbirds"). These tourists, who often practice the same migration routine annually, often end up purchasing second homes in the area.
Over the past several years however, Scottsdale's growing abundance of trendy, high-end nightlife, upscale restaurants, art galleries and luxury shopping, has made it a highly popular travel destination for the younger, white-collar, more style-conscious, travel set.
The famed Mayo Clinic has one of its three major branches in Scottsdale. This and its resulting effects have made Scottsdale a strong destination nationally for medical care.
The aviation industry has also grown in Scottsdale, with the construction of Scottsdale Airport in North Scottsdale, in the 1960s. Today, it is one the busiest single-runway airports in the United States in terms of aircraft operations. Though there is little to no commercial air service, nearly all operations are corporate or general aviation.
The immediate area surrounding the Scottsdale Airport, known locally as the Airpark, has developed rapidly as a regional center of commerce. By 2004, the Airpark had grown to become the second-largest employment center in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, with over 50,000 people being employed within a few-mile radius of the airport itself — notably in financial, retail, service, technological, design and manufacturing fields. The Airpark houses more nearly 2,500 individual businesses, with a combined economic impact of over $3 billion annually, and growing.
The largest employment center in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area is the combined central areas of Midtown and Downtown Phoenix, with an estimated 65,000 employees. Considering the many large, yet-to-be-developed parcels and opportunities for growth in and around the still highly-desired Airpark area in North Scottsdale, it is expected to overtake the central Phoenix markets in the near future, becoming the single largest center of employment in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
Among the companies headquartered in Scottsdale are APL, Dial, Fender, Go Daddy, Kahala, Kona Grill, Medicis, Paradise Bakery & Café, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Rural Metro, iCrossing, Discount Tire, and Taser.
Scottsdale is governed by a mayor and city council, all of whom are elected "at large" to represent the entire city. A city manager is responsible for the executive leadership of the city staff, as well as implementing council policies, developing programs and budgets to respond to council goals, and ensuring that citizens receive effective and efficient city services. The city manager also serves as the city treasurer.
The current mayor is Republican Jim Lane. The distinctive Scottsdale City Hall was designed by architect Bennie Gonzales in 1968, and was designed with an interior kiva for community meetings.
Public bus service in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area is operated as Valley Metro, and provides somewhat regular bus service, (very few buses run past 7 PM or allow to connect past 7 PM) which requires several connections in most cases and is time consuming (2 or 3 hours are sometimes needed to complete travel, unless traveling on the same route along the same street or avenue, thus making bus use difficult and putting a lot of cars often driven by a single driver and adding to traffic and pollution)routes not available throughout all of the city, the poorest sector of the population is the most affected by this.
The city of Scottsdale runs a network of local neighborhood circulators, labeled the "Scottsdale Trolley." Using trolley-replica buses, the public service is free to riders. There are currently two circulating "routes", known individually as the Downtown Trolley and the Neighborhood Trolley. These connect at the Loloma Station transit center in downtown Scottsdale.
The Downtown Trolley circulates through downtown Scottsdale, and the Neighborhood Trolley circulates from downtown Scottsdale to neighborhoods throughout South Scottsdale, connecting with the city of Tempe's own free public circulator, the Tempe Orbit at Roosevelt and Scottsdale Road. From there, riders can transfer onto the Tempe Orbit, and travel to Tempe, including Arizona State University's main campus, and the downtown Tempe, or Mill Avenue, area.
For a time between December 2007 and 2009, Scottsdale was a member of the board of METRO, whose light rail line connects the neighboring cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. There was a study in 2001, and some discussion since, of extending the light rail line into Scottsdale. The city's Transportation Master Plan identifies Scottsdale Road as the city's high-capacity corridor, which could be light rail, modern streetcar service, or bus rapid-transit (BRT).
A street railway interurban line was proposed to connect Scottsdale with Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa as early as 1913 but was never built; Scottsdale is the largest American city that has never had a rail line.