Arizona Women of Note

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Army wife, author, and territorial era Arizonan Martha Summerhayes detailed the many challenges of nineteenth century military life – particularly the challenges faced by military wives such as herself – in her 1908 autobiography entitled Vanished Arizona.

As March draws to a close, so too does the 27th annual national observation of Women’s History Month. Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female justice to sit on the United States Supreme Court, is frequently mentioned during the month-long celebration of women’s history and is undoubtedly Arizona’s most well-known women’s history figure. However, Arizona history is full of courageous and accomplished females, including the following women:

Martha Summerhayes

A nineteenth century Army wife who accompanied her husband to his assignments at military installations throughout Arizona Territory. Summerhayes documented the many challenges of frontier life in her 1908 autobiography entitled Vanished Arizona. Her book is now a valuable resource for those wishing to learn more about the role and experiences of women in territorial era Arizona military posts.

Sharlot Hall

Hall was a writer, historian, and Arizona booster. It is because of Hall’s efforts and her deep interest in our state’s history that the 1864 Old Governor’s Mansion was preserved and can be viewed at Prescott’s world-renowned Sharlot Hall Museum.

Isabella Greenway

Isabella, the widow of former Rough Rider turned copper mining executive John C. Greenway, was successful and connected in her own right. Over the course of her life, she served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke at the 1932 Democratic National Convention, owned an airline, founded Tucson’s famed Arizona Inn, and maintained a close friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt.

Nellie T. Bush

Bush was a Colorado River ferryboat captain, entrepreneur, state legislator, and, later, Parker city councilwoman who is best known for serving as the ‘Admiral’ of Arizona’s ‘Navy’ during Governor Moeur’s 1934 deployment of National Guard against California’s dam laborers. Bush’s short-lived naval force consisted of two old ferryboats that soon ran into problems and required assistance from the ‘enemy’ forces on the California side of the river, thereby ending our state’s foray into naval warfare.

Polly Rosenbaum

Rosenbaum holds the record for longest service in the Arizona legislature. She succeeded her husband in 1949 following his premature death and remained in office until January of 1995. Though her legislative service ended nearly twenty years ago, Rosenbaum is still remembered for her energy and bipartisan spirit, in addition to her work for often-overlooked rural communities throughout the state.

Additional Arizona-related women’s history facts include our state’s 1912 approval of female suffrage (eight years before women earned the right nationwide), the fact that Arizona elected women to five statewide elected offices in 1998 (Jane Dee Hull, Governor; Betsey Bayless, Secretary of State; Janet Napolitano, Attorney General; Carol Springer, State Treasurer; and Lisa Graham Keegan, Superintendent of Public Instruction), and Arizona’s nearly seventeen year run of female governors (Jane Dee Hull, Janet Napolitano, and Jan Brewer).


Arizona’s Television Industry

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A mid-century KGUN promotional piece touting the station’s ownership of “the tallest tower in Arizona.”

Fifty years ago today, 73 million Americans tuned into The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Undoubtedly, a large number of Arizonans contributed to this record-breaking viewership figure by watching the show on KOOL (channel 10) in Phoenix and KOLD (channel 13) in Tucson, then the state’s CBS affiliates. Although both KOOL and KOLD – both of which no broadcast under different call letters – were early entrants in Arizona’s television market, Phoenix’s KPHO (channel 5) was the first Arizona-based station to broadcast television signals to Grand Canyon State residents.

KPHO first transmitted programming on December 4th, 1949, marking the beginning of a long legacy carried on by the station to this very day. While initially affiliated with all three major networks, maturation of the Phoenix television industry resulted in the channel operating independent of an affiliate for many years prior to its 1994 transition back to CBS. Despite the changes in network affiliation, the channel’s earliest days are still reflected in its still-in-use KPHO call letters and its original 1949 transmitter tower perched atop Phoenix’s Westward Ho building more than five decades after its replacement by a tower at the summit of Mount Suppoa in the South Mountains. KOOL and KOLD, the Arizona CBS affiliates that registered unprecedented ratings on the night of February 9th, 1964, both came online in the 1950s.

Savvy businessman Gene Autry, better known to many as a famous Hollywood cowboy, Christmas crooner, and onetime owner of the California Angels, held stakes in both KOOL and KOLD. Tucson’s KOLD – originally known as KOPO – came online in early 1953. KOPO was renamed KOLD in 1957 due to the call sign’s similarity to that of KOOL, its Phoenix-based sister station that first broadcast in late 1953. Other Arizona television stations first transmitting in the 1950s include Phoenix’s KTVK (channel 3) and Tucson’s KDWI (channel 9), which is now KGUN. Notably, KTVK was co-founded by Ernest McFarland, former U.S. Senator, Arizona Governor, and jurist popularly referred to as the “Father of the G.I. Bill.”

The big names have long since left the local television business, which is now largely controlled by large, out-of-state corporations vying to maximize profitability in a highly competitive environment that pits their stations against cable networks and Internet sources in addition to their local competitors. This situation differs greatly from the early years of Arizona television that were characterized by a significant amount of local programming (any Wallace & Ladmo fans out there?) and a good-natured race to claim superlatives for promotional purposes. These much-touted achievements include KPHO’s title of first station in the state, KTVK’s onetime slogan of “Arizona’s First Color Television Station,” KOLD’s tagline of “Arizona’s Color Station” stemming from its first-in-market color capabilities, and KGUN’s boast of having “the tallest tower in Arizona.” Of course, for legions of screaming teenage television viewers glued to the tube fifty years ago tonight, network affiliation trumped any of the superlatives claimed by Arizona stations. By virtue of serving as CBS affiliates and, by extension, the local home of The Ed Sullivan Show, KOOL and KOLD won a coveted spot in the memories of many excited Baby Boomers.

Senator Goldwater’s Birthday

Today is the 115th anniversary of Barry Goldwater’s birth – or is it?

Senator Goldwater’s Birthday – His Real Birthday – Is Up for Debate

2008 is not the first year that a birth certificate has factored into a presidential election. Both of Arizona’s presidential nominees faced questions surrounding their birthplaces. 1964 GOP nominee Barry Goldwater contended with a handful of people challenging his candidacy due to his birth in pre-statehood Arizona, although few seriously believed birth in a U.S. territory would preclude someone from serving in the Oval Office. 2008 Republican nominee John McCain’s 1936 Panama Canal Zone birth also brought some degree of Constitutional skepticism, although legal scholars quickly dismissed such concerns. However, a more interesting question regarding Senator Goldwater’s birth remains unanswered, and is unlikely to ever be answered definitively.

Goldwater long claimed January 1st, 1909 as his date of birth. New Year’s Day 1909 is the date listed on his Arizona birth certificate, in his official United States Senate online biography, in his 1988 autobiography entitled Goldwater (page 37), and cast in bronze on his Paradise Valley grave marker. Despite the many official references to a January 1st birth, Senator Goldwater was likely born on January 2nd, 1909 – one day later than his oft-cited New Year’s Day arrival.

Having been born at the long-since demolished Goldwater home at 710 North Center Street (now Central Avenue) in Phoenix, Mr. Conservative’s birth was not memorialized in hospital records. In addition to the lack of hospital documentation, the Senator was not issued a birth certificate in 1909. Instead, he requested that the state issue formal documentation of his birth in 1942, or thirty-three years after the event, thereby greatly reducing the document’s value as a record of Goldwater’s birthdate. Significant Goldwater family events further complicate the mystery of the Senator’s true birthdate.

Baron and Josephine Goldwater, Barry’s parents, were married on January 1st, 1907, or two years prior to the birthdate claimed by Senator Goldwater. Joanne Goldwater, Barry’s first child, was born on January 1st, 1936 – twenty-seven years after Barry Goldwater’s supposed New Year’s Day arrival. Therefore, when Goldwater requested a birth certificate in 1942, a combination of family lore and New Year’s Day family milestones may have prompted the future statesman to give January 1st as his birthdate. By the time the state issued Goldwater a birth certificate, January 1st had already been listed as his date of birth on his Equitable Life Assurance Society policy, application for military pilot training, and his daughter’s birth record, all of which were submitted with his birth certificate application as proof of a January 1st, 1909 birthdate. Period newspaper coverage of the Goldwater family scion’s birth, however, indicates that Arizona’s favorite son was likely not born on the 1st of January, 1909.

The January 2nd, 1909 evening edition of the Arizona Gazette (later the Phoenix Gazette) reported, “the clerks of M. Goldwater & Bro. in Phoenix… have a new ‘boss’,” as of “3 o’clock this morning,” serving as evidence of a January 2nd birthdate. The January 3rd, 1909 Arizona Republican (later the Arizona Republic) included an article titled “The Eldest Son,” which stated, “Mr. and Mrs. Barry Goldwater yesterday welcomed to their fireside their eldest son and heir, a nine-pound boy, who promises to add luster to a family name already distinguished in the annals of Arizona,” thus bolstering the case for a January 2nd birthdate.

So, while we may never know for sure exactly when Senator Goldwater made his debut, the strongest evidence points to January 2nd, 1909 as his true birthdate, although most official sources still reflect a New Year’s Day birth. Either way, happy birthday, Senator!



Carl Hayden – An Arizona Legend

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This Miles Stafford Rolph III-crafted memorial to Arizona’s longest-serving member of Congress is located in the Russell Senate Office Building.
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“They’d probably vote landlocked Arizona a navy if he asked for it.”

The above quote from a 1971 Los Angeles Times article refers to the level of respect with which his fellow members of Congress viewed Arizona’s Carl Hayden, who was born in Tempe on this date in 1877. Hayden, son of Hayden’s Ferry (now Tempe) founder Charles Trumbull Hayden, represented Arizonans in Washington for 56 years and 319 days, a longstanding record now bested only by the many years of service logged by the late Robert Byrd of West Virginia and John Dingell, a still-serving Michigan Democrat who first took office in December of 1955.

Hayden’s birthplace, the National Register-listed adobe home that is now Monti’s La Casa Vieja, stands directly across the street from the Hayden-owned flour mill for which Tempe’s Mill Avenue is named. Indeed, Hayden’s impressive political career began in the then-small town of Tempe, where he served on the town council. Hayden went on to win terms as treasurer and sheriff of Maricopa County prior to being sent to the nation’s capital as Arizona’s first member of the House of Representatives. After fifteen years in the lower chamber, Hayden won election to the United States Senate, where he served for forty-two years. Hayden tirelessly advocated for his home state during his nearly fifty-seven years in D.C., garnering admiration even from those on the other side of the aisle, as evidenced by Republican Barry Goldwater quietly raising funds for Hayden’s final campaign for re-election. In a time now thought of as being relatively free of the partisan rancor plaguing Washington today, Goldwater discreetly supported Hayden because he knew the Tempean passionately and effectively served their shared constituents.

Central among Hayden’s many legislative accomplishments is the 1968 passage of the Colorado River Basin Project Act that authorized the Central Arizona Project. A longtime goal of the then-nonagenarian, this costly and complex endeavor transports Colorado River water to quench the thirst of Phoenicians and Tucsonans, thus facilitating ongoing population growth and economic expansion not possible without the benefit of this far-off water source. Hayden’s greatest legislative victory served as the capstone to his legendary Congressional career. Just months after the bill’s passage, he retired from the Senate, thereby allowing Barry Goldwater to return to the august body as his duly elected successor. Hayden spent much of his final three years of life working at his office in ASU’s Hayden Library, a repository named not for the much-admired public servant, but instead christened in honor of Hayden’s father, Charles Trumbull Hayden. The former Senate president pro tempore passed away on January 25, 1972. His well-attended funeral service was held in ASU’s Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium, which later served as the venue for the 1998 funeral of Hayden colleague and friend Barry Goldwater.