Imagining Scottsdale’s Future by Examining its Past

Shelley Slick-Hummon, Scottsdale Unified School DistrictBy: Shelley Hummon, Class 33
Scottsdale Unified School District

The members of class thirty-three were invited to imagine what Scottsdale would be like twenty-three years from now…

Why twenty-three?

Our amazing ‘wealth of knowledge’ day chair, historian, author, and Scottsdale Leadership alumnus Joan Fudala, a member of class nine, reflected on what the city of Scottsdale was like during her time in Scottsdale Leadership (twenty-three years ago) as compared to what the city looks like today.

Joan invited us to imagine the same when she opened the day with this powerful statement as an introduction to Scottsdale History Day, “This is your moment and you will be the next chapter in Scottsdale History.”

Imagine when the members of class thirty-three join the members of fifty-six (in the year 2041), twenty-three years from now… what will our class say about “the good old days” in Scottsdale when we were in Scottsdale Leadership way back in 2018/2019?

As a Scottsdale native, I believed I was pretty well versed in the history of our fine city but during this day, I learned some interesting and surprising facts that were previously unknown to me.

Did you know?

  • The bedrock surrounding our city has been found by scientists to be in existence for 1.8 billion years.
  • Camp McDowell was our first “modern shelter.”
  • The first person to file a homestead document was Chaplain Major Winfield Scott and his wife, Helen.
  • Chaplain Major Scott failed at two initiatives he wanted to see in our city…1. Bringing a streetcar to Scottsdale and 2. Making Scottsdale a “dry town.” (Can you imagine how the ‘nightlife’ of old town would be if we were a dry town?)
  • In 1920, Scottsdale’s population was no more than 500. Today our population is estimated to be over 246,000 (making Scottsdale the 92nd largest city in the USA for population).
  • The first “luxury” place to stay was the Ingleside Inn.
  • Malcolm White is credited with dubbing our fine city, “The West’s most western town.”
  • The Rancho Vista Bonita Inn (another ‘luxury option’) provided a cottage, a horse, and three meals a day for a cost of $12.50 per day.

Thank you to Alice Giedraitis and Kira Peters, who along with Joan Fudala, were amazing hostesses during our jam-packed day of learning and fun.

The start of our day at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, which sits just feet away from the site of one of our first elementary schools, gave us a hint of how much art defines what our city has become today.  Our tour of Cattle Track confirmed that an independent spirit and a drive to create are deeply woven into the fiber of our city.  As a side note…why not consider a quick ‘detour’ on your way to Fashion Square Mall for your holiday shopping by stopping at Cattle Track, where you will surely find a unique hand-made treasure; which will also support a local artist.

It was clear to see that one other strong theme of the day beside history, is the influence of art on our Scottsdale culture, in addition to the creativity and perseverance of some of the early influencers of our city. Both McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park and Taliesin West, also stops on our day tour, serve as remarkable examples of what can happen when a person has a dream along with the drive to see that dream come to fruition.

When I imagine myself, as a seventy-one-year-old woman by the way-yikes! Meeting the members of class fifty-six (twenty-three years from now)… I can barely imagine what Scottsdale will look like physically at that point. What I am certain of is that the city will retain its independent spirit steeped in art and culture, retaining its history of old west, and continuing to be a destination for entertainment and luxury for all to enjoy.  See you in 23 years!

Thank you to our transportation and food sponsors!



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