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Buffalo Bill comes to Phoenix

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was born near Davenport, Iowa, on Feb. 26, 1846. In 1860, at age 14, he joined the Pony Express which advertised for “expert riders willing to risk death daily.” During the Civil War, he served as a scout and enlisted soldier, and at age 21 was hired by the Kansas Pacific Railroad to hunt buffalo that would be used to feed construction crews. In 17 months, he claimed to have killed 4,280 buffaloes, garnering his nickname in the process.

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Alianza Hispano-Americana (access required)

During the mid to late 19th century, Mexicans and Anglos were living side-by-side in many cities and towns throughout the Southwest. In Tucson, the first Anglos settled during the 1850s. They enjoyed a close association with their Hispanic neighbors, both socially and in business, and intermarriage was more common than not. During the 1870s, as the Anglo population rapidly increased, racial tension — especially among the labor classes — developed.

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Postcard King of the West (access required)

Perhaps it was fate that Burton Frasher, who would eventually be eulogized as the “Postcard King of the West,” was born in 1888 — the very same year that George Eastman coined the word “Kodak” and the slogan “Kodak as you go” for his new mass market camera.

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Times Past: Campfire Comrades (access required)

Evenings spent around a campfire often warm the body. The fire glow can also warm the soul as friendships are formed and deepened. In some cases, romances start, business pacts are arranged and plots are hatched. Three memorable campfires, with lasting impact to Arizona, are recalled here.

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Marvel Crosson and the Powder Puff Derby (access required)

Women had been flying airplanes since the early days of aviation, and by 1928, they had also piloted balloons, parachuted out of disabled planes, served as their own mechanics, set altitude and speed records, wing-walked and barnstormed. But they hadn't yet raced airplanes.

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Al Sieber (access required)

When the great scout, Al Sieber, was killed in a construction accident near Roosevelt Dam, a headline read: "Famous scout who escaped a thousand deliberately aimed shafts of death, a victim of a mere accident." The irony of Al Sieber escaping decades of hard Arizona living was evident.

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The Southwestern Society of Spizzifiers (access required)

According to a writer for the Great Depression's Arizona Federal Writers Project, Arizona's prospectors and miners have been famous for stretching the truth for many years. These raconteurs have spun marvelous stories about their diggings and exaggerated the value of their strikes, often for the sole purpose of entertaining friends.

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A legendary Tombstone cowboy (access required)

On the silver screen and the wide-open southern Arizona ranges, Sid Wilson was one of the last authentic 19th century cowboys. His genuine, hard-working, real cowboy lifestyle provided authenticity to the characters he played in Hollywood movies and Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show.

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