A United States Army Chaplain named Winfield Scott arrived at the Salt River Valley, in 1888. The Chaplin was so taken by its potential, he subsequently provided a down payment on 640 acres in order to begin his farming operation. This purchase by Scott, which was close to the center of what is currently known as downtown Scottsdale, would be provide the momentum for the establishment of the community of which is the name sake of.
The beautiful scenery, irrigated desert location, and favorable climate in Scottsdale, influenced the original settlement. The numerous health seekers were attracted to Scottsdale, although agriculture was the primary attraction. Several of the original homesteaders of the community were recruited by Mr. Scott from the Midwest, and the East. These pioneers had an appreciation for cultural activities and were highly educated. In 1896, these early pioneers developed the Scottsdale public school system and in the, 1900's, supported a fledging writers and artists They also promoted the affiliation of Scottsdale with the earliest regional resorts, such as the Jokake Inn as well as the Ingleside Inn.
The original homestead of Mr. Scott was located adjacent to the recently built Arizona Canal, which helped to develop a dependable water supply that which tapped from the Salt River and critical to the early growth of the entire valley as well as Scottsdale. In 1908, the Granite Reef Dam was built and in 1911 the Roosevelt Dam was constructed. These dams transformed the Salt River Valley and permitted Scottsdale to obtain its share of the population boom. From 1908 through 1933, Scottsdale grew steadily but slowly as a small market town that provided services for families that were involved in the agricultural industry.
The region also experienced the development of ranching operations during its early years. In 1816, one of Scottsdale's the most prominent businessmen started investing in land just north of Scottsdale. He established a cattle ranch that subsequently covered some 44,000 acres. This ranch continued to operate. Throughout the 1950's, this ranch had cattle drives and cowboys.
During the Great Depression there was quite an influx of architects and artists in Scottsdale. This included the world famous Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1937, Wright and his wife purchased 600 desert acres at the foot of the McDowell Mountains, in 1937, and then constructed Taliesin West, were his architectural company's Southwestern headquarters and winter home.
During WW II the opening of Thunderbird II airfield in 1942, was among the most consequential events. Before the war had ended, some 5,500 pilot cadets received their primary flight training. Scottsdale also was the location of a German prisoner of war camp.
In 1947, the Chamber of Commerce in Scottsdale was established and leaders in Scottsdale leaders made a conscious effort in order to promote a special identity that was tied in with to the Old West. This was done in order to serve as an attraction to tourists and as a reflection of the roots of Scottsdale.
Also, in 1950, close to the western border, Motorola opened a facility. This signaled the start of an advanced technology industry that has continually grown. In 1956 Motorola opened another facility in Scottsdale that is located on McDowell Road.
Scottsdale had a population of around 2,000 people in 1951. These residents were residing within a region that was no larger than one square mile. Also the year 1951 the year 1951 brought the incorporation of Scottsdale as a town. The first appointed as mayor was a man named Malcolm White.
During the 1950's, the town was expanding quickly. By 1960 the population had increased to over 10,000 within a region of approximately five square miles. Also in the 1950's, the resident of Scottsdale celebrating their yearly Parada del Sol celebration, which brought the Baltimore Orioles to the town for their very first spring training camp and also organized the first All Arabian Horse Show. These activities are continuing to be the major attractions, and are continually defining the character of what is currently known as Scottsdale.
The population of Scottsdale had increased twelve fold by the late 1960's. The population of Scottsdale was almost some 68,000 people. The land area of Scottsdale was about some 62 square miles. In the 1960's Scottsdale rejected the federal plans for a ditch that was lined with concrete in order to handle the floodwaters and sometime later start work on the Indian Bend Wash greenbelt, which is an innovative project that turned the wash into a series of open spaces, golf courses, and parks.
The following decades brought even more growth in population and land area, as the city pushed northward into the high Sonoran Desert and experienced several building booms. By 1980, its population of more than 88,000 covered 88.6 square miles. By 1990, it had reached more than 130,000 in population and expanded to roughly its present size about 185 square miles. The population of Scottsdale was over 202,000 people by 2000.
The city saw a corresponding boom in its tourism industry, as new resorts appeared along the Scottsdale Road corridor and then farther north. Seasonal events attract thousands. The FBR Open, formerly the Phoenix Open, has set records as the most-attended golf tournament on the planet. Today, the city is a renowned destination and draws more than 6 million visitors annually.
Beginning in the early 1970's with the McCormick Ranch, the city saw the development of a series of large-scale, DC Ranch, Desert Mountion Ranch, McDowell Mouniton Rance as well as a camaster planned communities within its borders. Others included Scottsdale Ranch, Gainey Ranch, McDowell Mountain Ranch, Desert Mountain and DC Ranch.
Residents' concerns about growth prompted a movement in the 1980s to protect the slopes of the McDowell Mountains and, in the 1990's, to set aside the mountains and adjoining land in a huge preserve. Voters enacted a dedicated sales tax in 1995, and set the city on course to eventually acquire 36,000 acres, nearly one-third of Scottsdale's land area, equal in size the Bryce Canyon National Park.