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Phoenix, Arizona

Coordinates: 33°26′54″N 112°04′26″W / 33.44833°N 112.07389°W / 33.44833; -112.07389
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Phoenix, Arizona
City of Phoenix
Images, from top, left to right: Papago Park, Saint Mary's Basilica, Chase Tower, Downtown, Arizona Science Center, Rosson House, the light rail, a Saguaro cactus, and the McDowell Mountains
Flag of Phoenix, Arizona
"Valley of the Sun", "The Valley"
Interactive map of Phoenix
Coordinates: 33°26′54″N 112°04′26″W / 33.44833°N 112.07389°W / 33.44833; -112.07389
CountryUnited States
Settled1867; 157 years ago (1867)
IncorporatedFebruary 25, 1881; 143 years ago (1881-02-25)
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • BodyPhoenix City Council
 • MayorKate Gallego (D)
 • State Capital519.11 sq mi (1,344.50 km2)
 • Land517.86 sq mi (1,341.26 km2)
 • Water1.25 sq mi (3.24 km2)
 • Metro
14,565.76 sq mi (37,725.1 km2)
Elevation1,086 ft (331 m)
 • State Capital1,608,139
 • Rank5th in the United States
1st in Arizona
 • Density3,105.35/sq mi (1,198.98/km2)
 • Metro4,845,832 (11th)
Time zoneUTC−7 (MST (no DST))
ZIP codes
Area codes
FIPS code04-55000
GNIS ID(s)44784, 2411414
Major airportPhoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Secondary AirportsDeer Valley Airport
Phoenix–Mesa Gateway Airport
U.S. Highways
State Routes

Phoenix is the capital and the largest city in the U.S. state of Arizona. The city is the county seat of Maricopa County. It is the largest capital city in the United States and the only capital with over more than million people.[5] The city is along the normally dry Salt River. It became a city on February 25, 1881. People who live in Phoenix are known as Phoenicians.

Phoenix had 1,608,139 people in 2020. It is the fifth-largest city in the United States in the 2020 census. Phoenix is a very spread-out city. It has an area of 515 square miles. This makes it the 10th largest city by area. As of 2020, the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was the 11th-largest in the United States, with an estimated 4,845,832 people.

History[change | change source]

Native Americans[change | change source]

As early as 700 AD, the Hohokam people lived in the land that would become Phoenix. The Hohokam created about 135 miles (217 km) of irrigation canals. This let them grow things on the land.

It is believed that between AD 1300 and AD 1450 drought and floods caused the Hohokam to no longer live in the area.[6] Spanish and Mexican explorers knew of the area but they did not go as far north as the Salt River Valley.

Early history[change | change source]

In 1867, Jack Swilling of Wickenburg, Arizona came to the area. He saw that the land was good for farming. The only problems he saw were a lack of rain and good irrigation. Swilling corrected the problem by having a series of canals built. A small community was created about four miles (6 km) east of the where the city is today.[6]

The farming community was named Swilling's Mill. The name was later changed to Helling Mill, Mill City, and East Phoenix. Swilling was a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. He wanted to name the city "Stonewall," after Gen. Stonewall Jackson. Other people had other ideas for names. Finally, Lord Darrell Duppa suggested the name "Phoenix". The name is the same as the mythological fire bird which is born again from its own ash after it dies. It was a good name for a city born from a former civilization.[7]

Incorporation[change | change source]

On February 25 1881, Phoenix became an incorporated city. At that time it had about 2,500 people. Phoenix held its first city election on May 3 1881. Judge John T. Alsap defeated James D. Monihon, 127 to 107, to become the city's first mayor.[8] In early 1888, the city offices were moved into the new City Hall.

The coming of the railroad in the 1880s was the first of several important events changed the economy of Phoenix. Phoenix became a trade center. In response, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce was created on November 4 1888.

A panoramic view of Phoenix from the South Mountain Range, Winter 2008

Geography[change | change source]

Satellite image of the Phoenix Metro Area in 2002.

Phoenix is at 33°26'54" North, 112°4'26" West (33.448457°, -112.073844°)[9] in the Salt River Valley, or "Valley of the Sun", in central Arizona. It is at a mean elevation of 1,117 feet (340 m), in the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert.

Other than the mountains in and around the city, the topography of Phoenix is mostly flat. This allows the city's main streets to run on a precise grid with wide, open-spaced roadways.

The Salt River runs westward through the city of Phoenix. The riverbed is often dry or just a trickle due to large irrigation usage. The river is full after infrequent rainstorms or when more water is released from upstream dams. The city of Tempe has built two inflatable dams in the Salt River bed to create a year-round recreational lake, called Tempe Town Lake. The dams are deflated to allow the river to flow unimpeded during releases. Lake Pleasant Regional Park is in Northwest Phoenix in the suburb of Peoria, Arizona.

As with most of Arizona, Phoenix does not observe daylight saving time. In 1973, Gov. Jack Williams argued to Congress that energy use would increase in the evening. Refrigeration units were not used as often in the morning on standard time. He went on to say that energy use would rise "because there would be more lights on in the early morning." He was also concerned about children going to school in the dark, which indeed they were.[10] Navajo Nation lands in Northeastern Arizona observe daylight saving time in conjunction with the rest of their tribal lands in other states.

Climate[change | change source]

Phoenix has an arid climate, with very hot summers and temperate winters. The average summer high temperature is among the hottest of any populated area in the United States and approaches those of cities such as Riyadh and Baghdad. The temperature reaches or exceeds 100°F (38°C) on an average of 110 days during the year, including most days from late May through early September, and highs top 110 °F (43 °C) an average of 21 days during the year. On June 26, 1990, the temperature reached an all-time recorded high of 122 °F (50 °C).[11]

On average, Phoenix has only 2 days per year where the temperature drops to or below freezing.[12] Frequently, outlying areas of Phoenix see frost, but the airport does not. The earliest frost on record occurred on November 3, 1946, and the latest occurred on April 4, 1945. The all-time lowest recorded temperature in Phoenix was 16 °F (-8.8 °C) on January 7, 1913.

Cityscape[change | change source]

Map of the urban villages of Phoenix

Since 1986, the city of Phoenix has been divided into urban villages, many of which are based upon historically significant neighborhoods and communities.[17] Each village has a planning committee. This committee is appointed directly by the city council. According to the village planning handbook issued by the city, the purpose of the village planning committees is to work with the city's planning commission to ensure a balance of housing and employment in each village. The committees also concentrate on development at identified village cores, and to promote the unique character and identity of the villages.[18]

There are 15 urban villages in the city at this time: Ahwatukee Foothills, Alhambra, Camelback East, Central City, Deer Valley, Desert View, Encanto, Estrella, Laveen, Maryvale, North Gateway, North Mountain, Paradise Valley (not to be confused with the town of Paradise Valley), South Mountain and Rio Vista. Rio Vista was created as New Village in 2004 and is currently very sparsely populated, with no large amount of development expected in the near future.[19]

Commonly referred-to Phoenix regions and districts include Downtown, Midtown, West Phoenix, North Phoenix, South Phoenix, Biltmore Area, Arcadia, Sunnyslope, Ahwatukee.

Economy[change | change source]

Downtown Phoenix south of Jefferson Street.

The early economy of Phoenix was mostly agricultural. It was mostly dependent on cotton and citrus farming. In the last twenty years, the economy has changed as quickly as the number of people has grown. As the state capital of Arizona, many residents in the area are employed by the government. Arizona State University is there. Many high-tech and telecommunications companies have also recently moved to the area. Due to the warm climate in winter, Phoenix benefits greatly from seasonal tourism and recreation, and the golf industry.[source?]

Phoenix is currently home to several Fortune 1000 companies. Companies in Phoenix include waste management company Allied Waste, electronics corporation Avnet, Apollo Group (which operates the University of Phoenix), mining company Freeport-McMoRan (recently merged with Phoenix-based Phelps Dodge), retailer PetSmart, development company Tempo Creative,[20] energy supplier Pinnacle West and retailer CSK Auto. Honeywell's Aerospace division is headquartered in Phoenix, and the valley hosts many of their avionics and mechanical facilities. Intel has one of their largest sites here, employing about 10,000 employees and 3 chip manufacturing fabs, including the $3 billion state-of-the-art 300 mm and 45 nm Fab 32. American Express hosts their financial transactions, customer information, and their entire website in Phoenix. The city is also home to the headquarters of U-HAUL International, a rental company and moving supply store, as well Best Western, a hotel chain.[source?] Mesa Air Group, a regional airline group, is headquartered in Phoenix.

The military has a significant presence in Phoenix with Luke Air Force Base in the western suburbs. At its height, in the 1940s, the Phoenix area had three military bases: Luke Field (still in use), Falcon Field, and Williams Air Force Base (now Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport), with many other air fields throughout the region.[source?]

Government[change | change source]

The Arizona State Capitol, which used to house the state legislature, is now a museum.
The City Hall of Phoenix, showing the city's logo, The Phoenix Bird.

As the capital of Arizona, Phoenix houses the state legislature. In 1913, the commission form of government was adopted. The city of Phoenix is served by a city council. The city council is made up of a mayor and eight city council members. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote to a four-year term. Phoenix City Council members are elected to four-year terms by voters in each of the eight districts.[21]

The current mayor of Phoenix is Phil Gordon, who was elected to a four-year term in 2003. He was again re-elected to another four-year term in 2007.[22] The mayor and city council members have equal voting power to govern the city.

Phoenix operates under a council-manager form of government, with a strong city manager. The city manage supervises all city departments and executing policies adopted by the council.[23]

The United States Postal Service operates post offices throughout Phoenix. The main Phoenix Post Office is at 4949 East Van Buren Street.[24]

As of February 9, 2009, Phoenix offers a domestic partnership registry open to opposite- and same-sex couples with no resident requirements for registrants.[25]

Crime[change | change source]

By the 1970s there was rising crime and a decline in business within the downtown core. The city's crime rates in many categories have improved since that time, but still are higher than state and national averages. The crime rate in Phoenix has gone down through the years. However, recent kidnappings and human trafficking due to the Mexican drug trade have brought negative attention to the city.

Car theft has been a problem in Phoenix. In 2001, Phoenix was number one for theft rate with 35,161 total thefts, giving a rate of 1,081.25 per 100,000.[26] However, in 2003, Phoenix dropped to second for with 1,253.71 per 100,000, although it was first for total car thefts with 40,769.[27]

References[change | change source]

  1. "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  2. "Feature Detail Report for: Phoenix". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  3. "QuickFacts: Phoenix city, Arizona". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  4. "2020 Population and Housing State Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  5. "The 10 Most Populated State Capitals". September 3, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Out of the Ashes, Early Life along the Salt River Archived 2014-02-14 at the Wayback Machine." City of Phoenix. Retrieved on November 26 2006.
  7. "Out of the Ashes, Phoenix is Born Archived 2014-02-14 at the Wayback Machine." City of Phoenix. Retrieved on November 26, 2006.
  8. "Out of the Ashes, Incorporation in 1881 Archived 2014-02-14 at the Wayback Machine." City of Phoenix. Retrieved on November 26 2006.
  9. "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  10. "Arizona does not need daylight saving time Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine." Arizona Daily Star. Published on May 19, 2005. Retrieved on December 15, 2006.
  11. "Climatology of heat in the southwest". National Weather Service. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
  12. Mean Number of Days With Minimum Temperature 32 °F (0 °C) or Less Archived 2001-12-17 at the Wayback Machine. National Climatic Data Center. June 23, 2004. Last Retrieved February 16, 2006.
  13. "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  14. "Station Name: AZ Phoenix Sky Harbor INTL AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  15. "WMO Climate Normals for PHOENIX/SKY HARBOR INTL, AZ 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  16. "Monthly Averages for Phoenix, AZ – Temperature and Precipitation". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  17. "Village Planning Committees Archived 2008-01-05 at the Wayback Machine." Phoenix City Government. January 9, 2007. Retrieved on February 22, 2007.
  18. "The Village Planning Handbook" (PDF). City of Phoenix. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  19. "Village Planning Committees Archived 2008-06-05 at the Wayback Machine." Phoenix City Government. March 21, 2008. Retrieved on April 15, 2008.
  20. Phoenix Web Design Tempo Creative. Retrieved on September 4, 2009.
  21. http://www.phoenix.gov/mayorcouncil/about/index.html Archived 2012-05-16 at the Wayback Machine | Official Site of the City of Phoenix- About the Phoenix City Council
  22. http://phoenix.gov/mayor/index.html Archived 2012-06-22 at the Wayback Machine | Official Website of the City of Phoenix- Mayor Home
  23. http://www.phoenix.gov/EDUCATN/whattype.html Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine | Official Website of the City of Phoenix- What Type of Government Does Phoenix Have?
  24. "Post Office Location - PHOENIX[permanent dead link]." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on April 17, 2009.
  25. http://www.hrc.org/issues/marriage/domestic_partners/9133.htm Archived 2009-08-28 at the Wayback Machine | Human Rights Campaign
  26. "Cities with the worst auto theft". Archived from the original on 22 August 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  27. "'Hot spots' for stolen cars". CNN.com. November 30, 2004. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  1. Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the highest and lowest temperature readings during an entire month or year) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
  2. Official records for Phoenix kept at downtown August 1895 to September 1953, and at Sky Harbor Int'l since October 1953. For more information see ThreadEx.

Other websites[change | change source]