The Phoenix-Tucson Rivalry, A Deep-Rooted Tradition

Phoenix-Tucson rivalry, Territorial Insane Asylum, Arizona State Hospital, 1885, Thieving Thirteenth

Excerpt from an August 31st, 1889 Arizona Sentinel article regarding the asylum and its location.

As we are now just a few weeks out from the annual ASU vs. U of A Territorial Cup game, I thought it might be appropriate to share this as-yet-unposted August 28th, 2014 KJZZ piece covering one of the many points of contention in the Phoenix / Tucson rivalry – the Thieving Thirteenth territorial legislature and the $100,000 insane asylum its members awarded to Phoenix.

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Phoenix-Tucson rivalry, Territorial Insane Asylum, Arizona State Hospital, 1885, Thieving Thirteenth

An early twentieth-century hand-colored postcard depicting a seemingly idyllic scene on the grounds of the Phoenix asylum.
Image credit: John Larsen Southard collection –

The Nogales to Yuma Slant: Arizona’s Southern Border West of the 111th Meridian

Arizona's southern border, Arizona history, Arizona historian, Gadsden Purchase, John Southard, John Larsen Southard, AZHistorian, Southard

“Map of the Gadsden Purchase : Sonora and portions of New Mexico, Chihuahua & California,” produced in 1858 by cartographer Herman Ehrenberg. Note the northwesterly slant in the border as it runs from Nogales to Yuma.
Image credit: Library of Congress

Here’s a question that likely keeps you up at night: Why does Arizona’s southern border run in a northwesterly manner between Nogales and Yuma?

Give up? Have a listen to this KJZZ piece – that happens to quote yours truly – from last Friday. It should be noted, of course, that the history of the Gadsden Purchase involves many very complex moving parts. However, Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez summed up the story nicely given the challenge of condensing it into a two-to-three minute radio segment.


Phoenix’s Insane Asylum Drove Tucsonans Crazy

Insane asylum, Thieving Thirteenth, 1885, Phoenix, Tucson, Arizona State Hospital, Arizona history, Arizona historian, AZHistorian, John Larsen Southard, John Southard, Southard

An early-twentieth century hand colored postcard depicting a seemingly idyllic scene on the grounds of the Phoenix asylum.
Image credit: Author’s collection.

Tucsonans Go Crazy Over Phoenix’s Insane Asylum

March of 1885 was a momentous month for Arizona’s Thirteenth Territorial Legislature, a group known to history as the “Thieving Thirteenth.” The legislative body described in a March 28th, 1885 Arizona Weekly Citizen article as “not excelled in its provisions for a first-class steal from the Territory” passed bills authorizing the establishment of a teachers college in the then small town of Tempe and a university in Tucson, the most populous city in Arizona at the time. The teachers college, initially named Tempe Normal School but now known as Arizona State University, received an appropriation of $5,000 while Tucson’s university brought that city $25,000 in funding. Nonetheless, Tucsonans were both disappointed with and outraged by the gift the territory’s solons bestowed upon them. In place of showing gratitude for his town’s new institution of higher education, the editor of a Tucson paper decried the Phoenix area’s capture of “the plum of the legislature pie” with “emoluments [amounting] to almost half a million” and presciently predicted that C. C. Stephens, one of Tucson’s legislators, “will be insulted when he returns.”

Why were Tucsonans so upset with their haul from the Thieving Thirteenth? Because their prize proved to be a university that the city was said to “not care a fig about.” Instead, residents of the Old Pueblo coveted Phoenix’s big score – the territorial insane asylum now known as the Arizona State Hospital and the $100,000 appropriation associated with that facility. Angry about losing this well-funded institution to the relatively new and still rather small city of Phoenix, Tucson newspaper editors wrote scathing pieces belittling the future capital city and cursing its good fortune. Southern Arizona journalists continued to attack Phoenix’s victory for several years after the 1885 legislative session adjourned sine die, as demonstrated by an August 3rd, 1889 Arizona Sentinel article expressing concern that “the Great Salt River [V]alley” was “no place for the insane” due to its stifling heat. While calling attention to “the poor suffering humanity that [sweltered] within” the asylum, the piece altogether disregarded the well-being of sane Phoenicians and conveniently overlooked Tucson’s high summer temperatures.

In the end, however, Tucsonans came to love their university, which now boasts enrollment of more than 40,000 students and an annual budget exceeding $450,000,000. With approximately 60,000 students attending courses in Tempe alone, the once-modest Normal School now lays claim to the title of largest public university campus in the United States. Phoenix’s asylum, the so-called plum of the 1885 legislative session, is now largely unknown to most Arizonans and operates on a budget of just $30,000,000 – far smaller than that of the University of Arizona. So, it seems that the much maligned C. C. Stephens has been vindicated – something likely to be deemed crazy by a Tucsonan of 1885.


Arizona’s Difficult Path to Statehood

Arizona statehood, Arizona history, Arizona historian, AZHistorian, John Larsen Southard, John Southard, Southard, 1912, Baby State, KJZZ, 48th state

“Waiting for Their Stars” by Udo Keppler. Oklahoma gained statehood on November 16, 1907, thereby gaining a place on the flag effective July 4th, 1908. New Mexico and Arizona did not achieve statehood until January 6th and February 14th, 1912, respectively. As such, New Mexico is represented by the 47th star and Arizona is represented by the 48th star.

Arizona became a state on this date 102 years ago. I had the pleasure of discussing our long and arduous path to statehood on today’s edition of 91.5 KJZZ’s “The Show.”

A link to Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez’s “The Show” segment regarding our journey from territory to state can be found below.


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!