162 Custom map of Phoenix, Arizona and Vicinity
This hand painted historical map of Phoenix, Arizona and vicinity features a detail of Phoenix proper, as well as several surrounding areas. Notable points include the Phoenix airport and Zoo, Fort McDowell, the Sonorah Desert Preserve, and several Native American Indian Reservations.
It was the native Americans, after all, that played a huge role in the establishment of modern day Phoenix. The Hohokam civilization existed during pre-paleolithic times and were quite adept at irrigating the land. As a result, the Salt River Valley became a very fertile region. However, the entire Hohokam people disappeared around 1450 BC, without a trace or explanation, leaving their canals behind.
It would be these canals that would inspire civil war confederate veteran Jack Swilling to reconstruct canals based on the existing Hohokam designs. He was inspired to do so during one of his trips to Fort McDowell. He would later move to the area along with 17 miners and his Swilling Irrigating and Canal Company to build irrigate the Salt Water Valley further.
The oddest part of this story though? Nobody knows who exactly put forth the name Phoenix as a potential name for the town. Other names were proposed, such as Stonewall and Salina, however Phoenix was chosen as a head nod to the rebirth of a city that was started by an ancient people long, long ago. Anecdotal credit is often given to Darrell Dupa. Darrell was an Englishman who held the oldest homestead in the area, and was also responsible for founding New River, and giving Tempe its name.
Since then, Phoenix has experienced tremendous growth through the years. Currently, it is the 6th largest city in the United States, but is expected to move up to 4th by the year 2020. All of this can be traced back to the Hohokam people who made the land habitable, thousands of years ago.
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