“It’s a dry heat”,
and other conversation starters.
This sort of sentence represents a major coping mechanism for Phoenicians during summer months when temperatures soar to 100 degrees and beyond. Other than the heat, the Valley of the Sun is known for such things as tourism, high-tech industries the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Coyotes and Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball. And, during the recent cold spell in January, the news reporters joked: “But it is a cold heat.”
Here’s a sampling of a few pertinent facts ready-made for conversation:
- Sunshine is in huge supply in Phoenix. The Valley averages 211 clear days and 85 partly cloudy days per year.
- Arizona has more boats per capita than any other state in the nation.
- More than 13.3 million people visit the Valley of the Sun each year.
- Visitors account for about $6 billion in expenditures each year. Eight out of 10 visitors to the Arizona Valley plan to return.
- Sixty-one percent of Arizona Valley visitors are leisure travelers, while 39 percent come here for convention or business reasons.
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the sixth-busiest airport in the country and the eighth-busiest worldwide.
- The geographical area containing Phoenix and surrounding cities is commonly called the Valley. That’s because the city is partially surrounded by mountain ranges such as the Superstitions to the east, the Sierra Estrellas to the southwest, the White Tanks to the west and the McDowells to the northeast.
- 100 reasons why we love Arizona
- The Giant of the Desert – It takes 50 years for a saguaro (sah wah ro) to grow one arm. We have some grandaddies out there! In April or May the saguaro blooms. Each blossom gives way to edible fruit. When ripe, the fruit splits open, exposing the brilliant crimson inside, which is often mistaken for a cactus flower.
- For centuries the Indians have harvested saguaro fruit, using long poles made from saguaro ribs. The fruit could be eaten fresh, made into preserves, or dried like figs. They also pound the shiny seeks into flour.
- For those who have always thought of Arizona only in terms of deserts and cacti, it may come as something of a shock to learn that one-fourth of the entire state is covered by forest growth. It is the largest unbroken onderosa pine forest in America. It ranges from the Grand Canyon, spreads southward in a 300-mile semi-circle into New Mexico.
- Wherever you find high mountains, though, you’ll find them topped by the big trees There are lofty ranges in southern Arizona with forest-clad slopes that extend clear to the Mexican border.
- Phoenix Arizona is home to the largest municipal park in the world. South Mountain Park covers more than 20,000 acres.
- Arizona became a state in 1912, and is known as the “Nation’s Valentine”, because it joined the union on February 14th.
- The name Arizona is a Spanish version of the Pima Indian word arizonac for “little spring place”. The Aztec’s version is arizuma meaning “silver-bearing”.
- Phoenix Arizona is the nation’s fifth-largest city with population of 1.4 million, and serves as the centerpiece for almost 3.4 million people in the metropolitan area according to the Census Bureau. With over 514 square miles of land, Phoenix offers plenty of room for long-term growth. Only 50 percent of the land in the city is developed. Plenty of prime industrial and commercial land is available, much of it already set with modern infrastructure and an assured water supply necessary to start operation right away. A massive canal and pump system delivers water to Phoenix from the Colorado River, supplementing the supply from local reservoirs and river and assuring a reliable water supply for the foreseeable future. Also, Phoenix voters a few years ago approved a Regional Transportation Plan that includes nearly $16 billion of spending on construction of freeways, a light rail system, and enhanced bus services.
- Canada is the single largest source of foreign direct investment in Arizona, generating over 12,000 jobs for Arizonans. Canadians are also the second largest group of tourists. Canadian retirees residing in the U.S. are still doing better financially by and large, than their counterparts in Canada. (See Immigration Facts)
- Whatever route you travel in entering Arizona, you’ll be following in somebody’s pioneering footsteps-the Spaniards, who came north from Mexico, the Mormons, who came south from Utah, the forty-niners, the soldiers, the stage lines, AND, you’ll be following a trail originally surveyed by a camel expedition!
- There are 23 Indian reservations within Arizona covering 19 million acres. These reservations are home to 14 tribes representing nearly 200,000 people.
- There are six National Forests within Arizona covering 11.2 million acres.
- There are 829 species of fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals resident in Arizona. Many of them are unique to the region.
- Arizona State Seal has 5 C’s, Climate, Cotton, Cattle, Copper, and Citrus:
- CLIMATE being the first. As golfers play on green fairways in the Valley, skiers take to the slopes near Flagstaff, just a few hours’ drive away.
- COTTON is king in Arizona agriculture: it’s the largest single cash crop.
- COPPER contributed $3.518 billion direct and indirect impact on the Arizona economy.
Arizona copper producers in 2005 had mining and processing operations at various locations in Cochise, Gila, Greenlee, Mohave, Pima, Pinal, and Yavapai counties that also produced substantial amounts of molybdenum, gold, silver, and other metals as byproducts in the production of copper. Arizona copper producers exported about 8% of the metals they produced to other countries, particularly in the Far East. Arizona’s three large copper producing firms are: ASARCO, BHP and Phelps Dodge and there are several smaller firms. (Source: Arizona Mining Association. )
- CATTLE are a $2.6 billion business in Arizona, providing income and jobs for 4,000 cattle producers. The state ranks 13th in the US in cattle production.
- CITRUS – Arizona’s Salt River Valley produces 5 million cartons of fruit each year, spawning a $40 million citrus industry. Arizona is third in production in the US behind Florida and California. National Agricultural Statistics Service
- In the past, Arizona’s economy was based on these five “Cs”. That has changed with the exception of the “climate” element of the five Cs. The five new elements driving the statewide economy now are: high tech manufacturing, tourism, health care, financial/back room operations and warehousing/distribution centers.
- It is less expensive to live in Arizona’s major cities than in most metropolitan areas in the West, according to a new report prepared by the Arizona Department of Commerce.
- Arizona reeled in the record freshwater striped bass, 59 lbs. 12 oz. a Bullhead City on the Colorado River.
- Arizona has the most hummingbird species (14).
- The only place in America where on one foot, you can stand in four states, where the boundaries meet at a common point (Four Corners), Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona.
- Arizona’s terrain varies significantly from its 70 feet above sea level near Yuma, to 12,633 feet (Humphries Peak) near Flagstaff. The wildlife, weather and flora change dramatically with variations in altitude.
- John Steinbeck dubbed Route 66 which cuts through Arizona, “the mother road.”
- The largest Indian Nation in the United States is the Navajo Nation
- The Grand Canyon is 4,000 feet deep and 277 miles long.
- Famous people trivia: In 1929, Dr. Winston Hackett was the first black physician in Arizona.
- The same year, Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard, started the Heard Museum. Charles D. Poston is often called the “Father of Arizona” for his political efforts that formed the Arizona Territory. Father Kino, on the other hand, founded more than 20 missions, including San Xavier. Laura Murphy is known as the “mother of the canal,” as she helped her husband develop the Arizona Canal. Isaac Rosenzweig started Phoenix’s first jewelry store and Temple Beth Israel. Lucius D. Copeland, valley resident, has been credited for inventing the first motorcycle. Katherine “Kax” Herberger began the Culture Keepers.
- Flagstaff’s name: Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912. On July 4, 1876,a hundred years after the founding fathers declared the United States a place of freedom and democracy, the settlers out West paid their tribute by cutting down a Ponderosa pine tree, shaving off its branches and hoisted the nation’s flag on its top. This makeshift flagpole, or flagstaff, seemed an ideal observance of the nation’s centennial and the perfect fit as the name of what has become on of the Northern Arizona’s largest cities.>
In ending, quoting Hugh Downs, longtime Arizona resident, who once explained:
“I’m glad I wasn’t born in Arizona. I might have take it for granted. To come to it after living in many other places lets me know its worth in a way difficult for the native. Like a religious convert, I feel I have added point of pride in have chosen it.”