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Facts About Arizona History: 7 Things You Might Not Know

By    |   Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM

Whether you’re from the Grand Canyon State or just curious about the spectacular western vistas, some facts about Arizona’s history just might be a surprise.

1. Arizona’s name has to do with either silver or water, according to State Symbols USA. It’s a Spanish version of an Aztec word for “silver-bearing” — but it’s also based on the Pima Indian word for “little spring place.”

2. The modern irrigation system surrounding the capital city, Phoenix, follows a pattern of canals dug by early agricultural civilizations as distant as 20,000 years ago, according to the Office of the Governor.

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3. Bits and pieces of other people’s history, real and fictional, abound on Arizona’s “West Coast,” as Visit Arizona calls it — from the original London Bridge to the imperial sand dunes of a galaxy far, far, away, where scenes from “Return of the Jedi” were filmed.

4. When the battleship USS Arizona was christened in 1915, two bottles were broken: one of champagne, and one of water from Roosevelt Lake in Arizona — a concession, so reported The Arizona Republic, to prohibitionists back home in the ship’s namesake state.

5. Famous people you might not have known called Arizona home: Humor columnist Erma Bombeck; “Wonder Woman” actress Lynda Carter; Apache chiefs Cochise and Geronimo (Goyathlay); “Family Circus” cartoonist Bil Keane; World War I flying ace Frank Luke Jr.; singer Linda Ronstadt; astronomers Percival Lowell and Clyde Tombaugh; and architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

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6.
Arizona’s Coconino County is enshrined in the early 20th century comic strip “Krazy Kat,” beloved among comics fans for its inventively surreal art and storylines. Cartoonist George Herriman kept a summer home there, and the stark but varied landscape found expression in his surreal, sparse scenery. As Web Comic Overlook put it, “Herriman captures the subversive weirdness of the Southwest.”

7. You’d be “surprised” to know Arizona’s 10th-largest city got its name because founder Flora Mae Statler reportedly once said "she would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much."

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Whether you’re from the Grand Canyon State or just curious about the spectacular western vistas, some facts about Arizona’s history just might be a surprise.
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Monday, 23 Feb 2015 11:32 PM
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