What's in a name: Scottsdale

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Scottsdale is known worldwide for its opulent lifestyles, posh restaurants, superior shopping, art galleries, resorts, designer golf courses, and ritzy nightclubs.

But back in its early days, Scottsdale was an agricultural area that drew visitors for health reasons and for it's dry, mild winters.

Scottsdale was named after Winfield Scott, a retired U.S. Army chaplain, first visited the Salt River Valley in 1888. He was so impressed with the area he made a down payment on a land section next to the newly completed Arizona canal. Scott's land boundaries extended from present-day Scottsdale Road to Hayden Road and from Indian School to Chaparral Road.

Winfield Scott established a home in what would become Scottsdale

Photo on the Left is is retired U.S. Army chaplain Winfield S. Scott. On the left is Scott and his wife Helen in 1900 with their mule "Old Maud" in Scottsdale.

However, it was another man, Albert Utley, who first submitted a plan for the town about six years after Scott arrived.

In 1894 Utley made the new town official with the Maricopa County Recorder's Office. Utley's plan was to sub-divide the 40 acres on the northwest corner of the property into a townsite he planned to name 'Orangedale,' right next door to Scott's property. Scott's homestead had been established for a few years by then and was often used as a reference marker for folks who made their way to the area.

It may have been a mistaken reference made by the local newspaper about the newly emerging community that led to the name's change. It's not clear why, but not much time had passed after the first-filed that Utley decided to change his community's name from 'Orangedale' to 'Scottsdale.'

Through time it was Scott who was credited with promoting the area and always encouraging new growth. He was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives in 1898. He was also appointed as chancellor of the Tempe Normal School of Arizona, known today as Arizona State University.

As the new century began, Scottsdale grew slowly but steadily as a small market town in the early 1900s, supporting the agricultural community.

Scottsdale's Little Red Schoolhouse

The first schoolhouse in Scottsdale, the Little Red Schoolhouse, 1896 (on the left). The 1910 class in front of the Little Red Schoolhouse in Scottsdale (on the right).

The Scottsdale public school system was established in 1896 as the community's growth necessitated constructing a one-room wooden schoolhouse. It expanded in 1909 to a brick building that still serves the community today as the home of the Scottsdale Historical Museum

Ingleside Inn

Ingleside Inn, built as the private Ingleside Club in 1909 by W.J. and Ralph Murphy, was the Scottsdale area's first luxury resort.

Its first luxury resort was the Ingleside Inn, which was built back in 1909. The resort featured a main building, cottages, a rough golf course, and a full range of guest activities.

Jokake Inn in Scottsdale

Jokake Inn opened as a tearoom in 1926 and expanded to accommodate overnight guests in 1928.

The Jokake Inn opened as a tearoom in 1926 and expanded to accommodate overnight guests in 1928. They weren't known as 'Snow Birds' then, but winter visitors flocked to Scottsdale to spend mild winters in the growing community.

During World War II, pilot cadets found training in Scottsdale with the opening of Thunderbird II Airfield in 1942, which is now Scottsdale Airport. There was also a German POW camp located at the current intersection of Scottsdale and Thomas Roads in what today is Papago Park.

The 1950s saw continued growth, with Motorola building operational plants in Scottsdale. On June 25, 1951, the City of Scottsdale was incorporated, with Malcolm White appointed as its first mayor. It was then that the moniker "The West's Most Western Town" was branded on Scottsdale.


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Content Producer

Eric is an assignment editor and content producer with AZ Family-3TV & CBS 5 News. Read more about Eric in his bio.

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