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Times Past

Agua Caliente (access required)

Louis Killeen and friends at the Hotel Modesti outside Gila Bend.

In 1915, Louis Killeen outfitted two cars and left Phoenix for a two-day drive through the desert to Agua Caliente Hot Springs resort, the ruins of which still stand 30 miles west of Gila Bend, off Interstate 8.

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Border Duty, 1916

A soldier’s life on the Mexican border, 1916.

Pancho Villa’s attack on Columbus, New Mexico, in the early morning hours of March 9, 1916, set in motion a huge mobilization of the U.S. Army and the National Guard. By July 31, almost 111,000 guardsmen were on the border and an additional 40,000 awaited orders in mobilization camps around the country.

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The Washington Elm

Daughters of the American Revolution plant a tree on the Arizona State College campus in Flagstaff.  Left to right:  Dr. Grady Gammage, Naomi Dinsmore, Katherine Ormond, Mrs.V.M. Slipher, Alma Acker Bunch, Mary Spencer, Bertha Kennedy and Mrs. Louis Benedic. The two other women are not identified.

On a rainy Wednesday, April 22, 1931, members of the Coconino Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution gathered together with Dr. Grady Gammage, president of Arizona State College (now Northern Arizona University) to plant an elm tree in honor of the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth.

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‘I shall never come back to Arizona’ – Zane Grey

The Painted Desert, a frequent locale in Zane Grey’s books.

Western novelist Zane Grey (1872-1939) wrote this dramatic sentence to his wife, Dolly, in a bitter letter penned from his Tonto Basin cabin. He complained about other things, as well, and the above statement was followed with : “…the country has been ruined by motorists. The Navajo are doomed. The beauty and romance of their lives dead.” Dolly and Zane had honeymooned at El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in 1906 and knew Arizona well. He returned as often as possible, particularly to hunt.

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Rifleys — Father and Son

William John Rifley is pictured with his son, William Frank Rifley, in the early 1920s.

This photo, showing father and son in boxing gloves, was taken in Phoenix about 1922. It reflects Jack Dempsey’s dynamic effect on American culture. A comparatively small man, Dempsey electrified the nation in 1919 by winning the heavyweight championship, knocking out the gigantic Jess Willard in just three roundsc — an event that launched America’s Golden Age of Sports.

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Flagstaff’s Tree-Ring Study Pioneers (access required)

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Within the small scientific circle in Flagstaff in the 1920s were three men who combined their expertise to develop the science known today as dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating: astronomer Dr. Andrew E. Douglass (1867-1962); forester Gustaf A. Pearson (1880 -1949) and zoologist Dr. Harold S. Colton (1889-1970). Each man would become well-known and respected for this project and other scientific achievements in northern Arizona during their tenures.

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