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Journal

Celebrating a Century

I haven’t attended many 100th birthday parties. Okay, I haven’t gone to any—up until this week, anyway. And the guest of honor is very special to me.

This week marks the centennial of Arizona’s statehood.

 

Arizona Centennial Stamp - Carol Cox

 

Of all the stories we’ve heard about Abraham Lincoln, one that seems to slip through the cracks is the fact that he signed the Arizona Organic Act in 1863. The act provided for the creation of a new territory, and the citizens of Arizona spent the next 49 years working to achieve statehood. That dream was finally realized when President William Howard Taft signed the declaration making Arizona a state on February 14, 1912, and giving Arizonans one more reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

My family missed being part of that historic occasion, but not by much. My grandparents left Kansas and settled in Arizona in 1917, when the state was only five years old. My grandfather came out first, establishing a dairy farm near what is now 47th Avenue and Thomas Road in Phoenix. My grandmother followed several months later, making the journey by train with a 4-year-old son, a 2-year-old daughter . . . and only 3 weeks away from giving birth to my father, the first Arizona native in our family tree.

In my own little corner of northern Arizona, it seemed that flags, balloons, and banners were everywhere, making sure no one could miss the fact that it was a day of special note. Prescott, the first territorial capital, marked the occasion by planting a Centennial Tree on the west side of the courthouse plaza . . .

 

Centennial Tree - Prescott, Arizona - Carol Cox

 

. . . matching the placement of the Statehood Tree on the plaza’s east side.

 

Statehood Tree - Carol Cox

 

State flags lined the walkway to the courthouse building.

 

Prescott Courthouse - Arizona Centennial - Carol Cox

 

After writing a number of stories chronicling Arizona’s road to statehood, the plaza is a place that’s dear to my heart. I walked between the rows of flags, studying the events noted in the timeline etched into the concrete walk.

 

Timeline - Prescott - Arizona Centennial - Carol Cox

 

I thought of the intrepid men and women who came out to an untamed wilderness and made it their home. People who left the familiar behind to follow the dream of a better life. It reminded me of what Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi and Corinth, when he talked about “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead ” in order to reach our goal, an eternal home in heaven, not built by human hands.

My grandparents may not have been here from the beginning of Arizona’s statehood, but they embodied those same traits, and passed their love of the state down to the generations that followed. Now that I have grandchildren of my own, that makes five generations of my family  who have lived here. I hope I can instill that same pride in our Arizona heritage in those who come after me. More importantly, I want to pass along a spiritual heritage that can be theirs as well.

With so much of my family’s history connected with this state, it was an honor to be able to celebrate this red-letter day in Arizona history.

 

Arizona Flags - Carol Cox

 

Happy Birthday, Arizona!

 

 

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10 Comments

    Great post Carol! I was recently in Arizona around the holidays. You’ve done the state proud with your site. And kudos to you for having your blog going–I’m still working on that. Brilliant colors!


    Marian Pearson Stevens

    Feb 16, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks, Marian! So glad to know you’ve been able to visit Arizona. If you’re ever back here around Christmas, be sure to visit Prescott for the Courthouse Christmas Lighting ceremony. It brings out a small-town/community feeling that’s hard to find nowdays. And I’m looking forward to stopping by your blog when you get it up and running!

    Carol Cox
    Carol Cox

    Feb 16, 2012 | Reply

    Great job on your blog!I enjoyed this tribute to my favorite state, Carol. I grew up in the Arizona high country on the Mesa Redondo Ranch – attending elementary school in tiny Concho. I live mostly in Texas now, but Arizona and New Mexico get me part of the time. I believe Arizona is more than a state…it’s a state of mind. I’ll bet you understand what I mean. I bought the rights to use a photo of a Navajo woman on my website from the Sharlot Hall Museum. They are so accommodating!


    Jodi Lea Stewart

    Feb 16, 2012 | Reply

    Jodi, I know exactly what you mean! And you grew up in the White Mountains? That’s a gorgeous area of the state. You are so right about Sharlot Hall Museum. It’s a wonderful place to do research, or just to spend time learning more about the past. Thanks for stopping by!

    Carol Cox
    Carol Cox

    Feb 16, 2012 | Reply

    Arizona looks like beautiful country and it’s certainly home to my kind of weather. I hope I get the chance to visit someday. Enjoyed your post and all the photos. Your blog is beautiful!


    Elaine Smothers

    Feb 16, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks for the kind comments, Elaine! I hope you do get to come to Arizona some day. It’s more than just the desert–so much to see and do!

    Carol Cox
    Carol Cox

    Feb 16, 2012 | Reply

    April, I’m glad to hear you’ve seen the Grand Canyon. That’s a great place to start, and I hope you’re able to come back some day and do more exploring. There’s such a wide variety of things to see here, from snowy mountains to desert landscapes. . .and a lot in between!

    Carol Cox
    Carol Cox

    Feb 17, 2012 | Reply

    Very cool. I didn’t know any of that, and I love learning history. I’ve heard Arizona is very beautiful, though I’ve never been there. No, not true. I’ve been there to see the Grand Canyon. But I was there only for the Grand Canyon – took a bus from Las Vegas while in Vegas for a dance competition. Anyway, thanks for sharing all that!


    April Plummer

    Feb 17, 2012 | Reply

    Enjoyed reading your blog about Arizona’s centennial. I was a Park Ranger at Grand Canyon for 7 years and also met my husband, who was a helicopter pilot, there. Had a chance to see a lot of the rest of the state while I was there, but there are still some spots I’d like to come back and visit or revisit. Its a beautiful and varied state.


    Helen

    Feb 18, 2012 | Reply

    Helen, what an adventure! I’ve enjoyed every visit to the Grand Canyon, and I’ve often thought that working there would be fascinating. I do hope you’re able to come back some day and catch up on those places you’ve missed. Thanks for sharing that with us!

    Carol Cox
    Carol Cox

    Feb 19, 2012 | Reply



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