Scottsdale is a city located in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, which spans over 120,000 acres. The city is known for its golf courses (all 51 of them!) and luxurious spa resorts. There are lots of other interesting facts about the city that aren’t as well-known but contribute greatly to its history.
Six Things You Didn’t Know About Scottsdale
It Wasn’t Always Called Scottsdale
Scottsdale wasn’t originally known by its current name. The town was originally named Orangedale, because of all the local citrus groves that were grown and harvested nearby. One of the most popular nearby citrus farms belonged to Winfield and George Scott and most people referred to Orangedale as the city near the Scotts’ farm. In 1894 the town was inadvertently called Scottsdale in a newspaper article and subsequently was officially changed to Scottsdale.
Ironically, prior to the town of Scottsdale being founded, Winfield Scott built a church in the town of Winfield, Kansas, in exchange for having a city named after him.
It Hosts a Natural Attraction
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the largest urban wildnerness area in the United States. It’s a permanently protected sustainable desert habitat that has over 180 miles of trails and desert terrain housing a variety of plants, birds, and animals.
It was first incorporated in 1991 as a non-profit and joined the Land Trust Alliance, which is a worldwide land conservation movement. The conservancy is maintained by over 650 volunteers who care for the plants and cacti, offer guided tours and hikes, and provide education and research about the area.
It Has a Real Piece of History
The Titus House, built in 1892, still stands at 1310 N. Hayden Road. It is named for its original owner, Frank Titus, a railroad magnate who originally raised citrus and bred horses on his 160-acre property. He hired James Miller Creighton to design the home, who built it using bricks composed of excavated clay on the property.
The home is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest structure in the city. It is the only remaining building modeled after the Victorian era. It’s currently serving as a private residence.
It Has a Unique Climate
Scottsdale has some of the hottest seasonal temperatures anywhere. Even in the coolest month of January, temperatures still reach 68°F and the city averages over 100°F daily throughout the hottest month of July. The record temperature, in 1990, was a whopping 120°F. In fact, the city doesn’t recognize Daylight Savings Time to try and limit the sweltering hours of sunlight.
It Is Oh-So-Very Dry
The city has a very arid climate and gets less than seven inches of rain per year. In fact, it is considered one of the sunniest spots in the nation with over 300 days of sun each year. Even with the limited rainfall, there’s still plenty of vegetation. The Saguaro, for example, has adapted to the dry climate. The largest ever recorded was almost 59 feet tall. The cacti store water in their branches to help produce flowers, fruit, and seeds, to in turn produce even more cacti.
Three other popular indigenous plants that are popular for landscaping in Scottsdale include the Teddy Bear Cholla, the Prickly Pear Cactus, and the Blue Palo Verde. Most people opt to have desert landscaping in their yards, utilizing the cacti and other plants that survive without lots of water. Then, instead of grass, they use rock as a filler.
The City Values its Education
Scottsdale is full of incredible schools. The Scottsdale Unified School District, which stretches to Phoenix, Tempe, and most of Paradise Valley, dates back to 1896. It has more schools ranked “Excelling” than any other district in Arizona. “Excelling” is the best rank for schools in Arizona. Plus, over 96% of the city’s population has at least a Bachelor’s Degree education.
It is also home to Arizona Cowboy College, a school unlike any other. Students learn horsemanship skills, ranching techniques, and actually “experience life as an American cowboy.”