Fri, Dec. 06

Verde Heritage -- 1912: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARIZONA!


"February 14 is the anniversary of Arizona's admission to statehood. So get out your flag and fly it in honor of the nation's Valentine. For many years Arizona was also called the Baby State, but we've grown up now." (The Verde Independent; February 10, 1971; page 10.)

Arizona Territory officially became the State of Arizona on February 14, 1912, when it was formally admitted to the Union.

Exactly 50 years earlier, after the Congress of the Confederate States of America passed the "Act to Organize the Territory of Arizona" on January 13, 1862, Confederate President Jefferson Davis issued a proclamation officially organizing the Territory of Arizona as part of the Confederacy on February 14, 1862.

The Confederate Territory of Arizona was considered important because it gave the Confederates access to Federal California. Tucson was occupied by Confederates until the California Column arrived during May of 1862. Charles Debrille Poston, who had barely escaped with his life, traveled to Washington, D. C. He talked to members of Congress about the proposed Arizona Territory, described the defenseless condition of settlers and displayed proof of the mineral wealth in Arizona. That wealth was urgently needed by the national treasury.

The United States Congress passed its own "Act to Establish and Organize the Territory of Arizona" which was approved by U. S. President Abraham Lincoln on February 24, 1863.

Because of his efforts to have the Arizona bill passed and his promotion of Arizona, Charles Poston was called the "Father of Arizona." He became the first legally elected Territorial Delegate in 1864.

Every territory and state needed a capital building. Territorial capitals had been in Prescott and Tucson before it was moved permanently to Phoenix. In 1901, people from "the entire territory participated in ... the dedication of a" territorial capital in Phoenix, destined to become the state capital building "which has no cornerstone, the only one of its kind among the 48 states, and believed also to be the only public building without this pivotal factor about which to have a joyous occasion of pomp and ceremony. The imposing home for Arizona's government was dedicated on February 25, 1901, with all the pomp, ceremony, oratory, and parade which could be desired. ... But that isn't where the story properly starts. It goes back to 1864, when the seat of government of this territory was located in a one-story building on Gurley Street, Prescott."

"The legislatures of that day were ambitious, or else they foresaw with the true vision of prophets that Arizona was some day destined to be a full-fledged state with resources surpassing those of states at that time already members of the Union."

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Tuesday, February 14, 1928; page 1.)

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