Yesterday, Sunday, Saint George’s Day by the Julian calendar, Phoenix set a record high temperature – 106°F, surpassing the previous high for this day set in 1947.
I had been getting the extreme heat warnings on my iPhone, so this was not a surprise. So instead of baking in the triple digits temperatures only half way through the calendar spring, I drove up to higher elevations of Prescott (6,000 ft) and Sedona (4,500 ft) to escape the heat. At least for a day.
Indeed, the high in Prescott was a “balmy” 87°F. And by the time I drove into Sedona in late afternoon, the temperature there was 90°F. Still way too hot at those high elevations for this time of the year, but it beats 106°F.
The scene in Prescott town center was that of a picture-perfect spring day. You can just for yourself from these pictures.
What I did not expect to see is “snow.” Well, not the real snow. But white pollen from Cottonwood trees was flying around everywhere like that of the dandylion pollen. Look at this “snow” accumulation next to a curb in town center.
Walking around Prescott brought back memories of something that happened some 35 years ago. We had just moved to Arizona and were exploring the various parts of the state most weekend. When we got to Prescott, it was close to lunchtime. So I bought my two daughters, then 6 and 4, ice cream in that Marino Burger and Ice Cream shop (which amazingly is still there!).
Well, my older daughter managed to drop her ice cream out of the cone just as we were crossing the main street. I don’t remember of we stopped the traffic, but I do remember the look of absolute horror in her face. She had barely taken a few licks and it was gone. Splat. Melting instantly on a (very hot) asphalt. 🙂
Funny the memories we retain, isn’t it? When she was her last year staying at my Scottsdale home with her family she also remembered the incident. Some people may recall that Prescott was the Arizona Territory capital in 1864. But we remembered it for the dropped ice cream in 1983.
Back in 1864, Phoenix was just a sun-baked part of the Sonoran Desert. It did not exist; not as a city; not even as a human settlement. It was not until Jack Swilling of Wickenburg founded the Canal Company, which dug a trench to bring water from Salt River to the Valley of the Sun, that Phoenix area became habitable. Without AC, however, it was still a far cry from the cooler places like Prescott or Tucson, the other two Arizona capitals.
ARIZONA CAPITAL MOVED FOUR TIMES
Did you know that the Arizona capital moved four times before making Phoenix its final location?
“The first state capital of Arizona really depends what side you were on in the Civil War,” said Luke Bate from the Arizona State Capitol Museum. “Tucson is if you’re on the confederate side is the first capital of Arizona.”
That was in 1862 when the Arizona territory was stacked horizontally below New Mexico and it seceded from the Union to join the confederate cause. No all too happy about this move, the federal government created a new Arizona territory boundary line that looks much like what it is today and identified a new capital. In 1864, the U.S. government named Prescott as the state capital.
“Throughout the Civil War, there are essentially two capitals of Arizona, two different Arizonas. And until the ending of the Civil War that really officially clarifies everything and puts Arizona into the shape that we recognize it is,” Batesaid.
By 1867, the capital moved again, this time to Tucson. Bate said it was a well-developed city with more resources than any other area in the territory.
The Whole Town of Phoenix Was Worth $550!
On April 10, 1874, President Grant issued a patent to Judge Alsap for the present site of Phoenix. The declaratory statement was filed at the Prescott Land Office on Feb. 15, 1872. Official entry was made at the Florence Land Office on Nov. 19, 1873. The total cost of the Phoenix Townsite of 320 acres was $550, including all expenses for services.
It was not until 1889 when the legislature moved the territorial capital from Prescott to Phoenix. This time, the cArizona apital was here to stay (for more, see… City of Phoenix History).
CROSSING THE MINGUS MOUNTAIN
One of my favorite drives in all of Arizona has always been crossing the Mingus Mountain between Prescott and Sedona. I have done it numerous times. And yet I never get tired of it. Here are some pictures I took during yesterday’s drive.
It was a hot and hazy day even on the mountain. The lowest the temperature dropped to was 78°F at the 7,000-ft summit. So you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say that the views of the Sedona red rocks were beautiful as always.
SEDONA IN LATE MARCH
I did not take any pictures in Sedona this time. But here are some from our drive and a hike we took with my family from Vienna who stayed with us at our Scottsdale home the week before Easter.
PETER GYNT: MUSICAL DREAM, EXTRAORDINARY SERENDIPITY
Yesterday morning, Sunday, Saint George’s day by the Julian calendar, I woke up with music in my Third Ear I did not recognize. Stand by for a story of what happened later on, during my drive to Prescott and Sedona. It was an amazing cast of serendipity, with Edward Grieg and his wonderful Peter Gynt suite/ballet as its centerpiece.
When I am done writing it, I will post it at my http://altzar.net website where I publish my music, arts and spirituality piece.