Today in Arizona History
PHOENIX (AP) — Sunday, Dec. 8
On this date in 1883, five men held up the Goldwaters Castanada store in Bisbee, killing four people, including one woman.
On this date in 1899, Sheriff Frank Wattron issued printed invitations to the hanging of convicted murderer George Smiley. The invitations said, "the latest improved methods of scientific strangulation will be employed and everything possible will be done to make the surroundings cheerful and the execution a success."
On this date in 1906, the Petrified Forest National Monument was established by President Theodore Roosevelt. It became a national park in 1962.
On this date in 1913, Gov. George W.P. Hunt filed a protest with Gen. Vanustiano Carranza of Mexico over the wholesale execution of prisoners of war by Pancho Villa.
On this date in 1929, fire partially destroyed the plant of the Arizona Silver Belt Publishing Co. at Miami. Valuable newspaper files dating back to 1878 were saved.
On this date in 1931, Gov. George W.P. Hunt protested the abandonment of the Army posts at Douglas and Nogales, claiming that it destroyed Arizona's sense of security.
Monday, Dec. 9
On this date in 1875, J. Ross Browne, custom house inspector, Indian agent, traveler and writer who wrote, "A Tour Through Arizona" in 1864, died in Oakland, Calif.
On this date in 1915, the preliminary survey for the Mt. Lemmon road began.
On this date in 1918, the citizens of Mesa started a movement for separation from Maricopa County. They wanted to form a new county taking in Chandler, Gilbert and Tempe.
On this date in 1924, Wapatki National Monument northeast of Flagstaff was established by President Calvin Coolidge.
On this date in 1929, a Phoenix fire captain and another firefighter were fatally injured in a collision between two fire trucks. Four other firefighters were less seriously hurt.
Tuesday, Dec. 10
On this date in 1871, the first sale of lots in the Phoenix town site was authorized.
On this date in 1880, the first railway mail service in the territory was established between Tucson and Los Angeles.
On this date in 1899, Fritzie Scheff, famous light opera star, was annoyed when the water in her bathtub aboard her special Southern Pacific train splashed over the tub walls. She ordered the train stopped in Stein's Pass until she could finish bathing.
On this date in 1915, 150 striking miners held up a freight and passenger train three miles from Clifton in search of strike breakers.
On this date in 1927, Phoenix High School dedicated its new $80,000 stadium and became the envy of every other school in the state.
Wednesday, Dec. 11
On this date in 1915, University of Arizona students built the huge letter "A" on Sentinel Peak in the Tucson Mountains.
On this date in 1933, the natural gas pipeline from El Paso reached Tucson and a 40-foot torch was lighted in celebration.
Thursday, Dec. 12
On this date in 1929, Col. Charles Goodnight, Texas pioneer for whom the famous Goodnight Trail was named, died in Tucson.
On this date in 1929, federal prohibition agents arrested three bootleggers after a wild chase down East Speedway Boulevard in Tucson. The still was discovered on a ranch about one mile east of Jaynes Station and included hundreds of gallons of whiskey and several tons of sugar.
Friday, Dec. 13
On this date in 1922, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce suggested the possibility of changing the name of the Salt River Valley to something like "Happy Valley" or "Sunny Green Spot of the West."
On this date in 1929, the new anesthetic, Sodium Amytal, was used for the first time locally during an operation at the Gila County General Hospital.
On this date in 1936, the highway over Boulder (Hoover) Dam opened.
Saturday, Dec. 14
On this date in 1889, a Tucson jury acquitted all the defendants in the Wham robbery case. The robbery had taken place on May 11, 1889 when Army Paymaster Joseph Washington Wham was held up by a band of men near Cedar Springs and robbed of $28,345.10.
On this date in 1899, the Board of Regents authorized the first bond issue for the University of Arizona.
On this date in 1918, the city of Nogales reported 500 cases of influenza.
On this date in 1926, a band of Yaqui Indians south of the border near Nogales stripped a group of four cowboys of all but their underwear, shook hands with them politely and departed, leaving them to walk back to their ranch.
On this date in 1929, the city of Nogales, Sonora, was thrown open to gambling for 48 hours, with the city operating craps, roulette and blackjack games to raise funds for a $10,000 icing plant.
On this date in 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in a shooting on the U.S. side of the border. Two guns found at the scene revealed the botched "Fast and Furious" gun-smuggling investigation in Arizona conducted by the U.S. Justice Department.