History of Scottsdale Arizona Street Names

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Are you a Scottsdale, Arizona resident or thinking of moving to one of the nations top 10 places to live? Well, you may wonder where Scottsdale's name originates and where the street names and places came from.


Scottdale Origin


Scottsdale itself began with Winfield Scott who was an early resident.

1888: United States Army Chaplain Winfield Scott moves to the area and purchases 640 acres of desert land at the whopping price of $3.50 per acre.

1894: The town is named “Scottsdale,” after its founder.


Winfield Scott early Scottsdale                                                             Winfield Scott in early Scottsdale


Winfield Scott (February 26, 1837 – October 19, 1910) was an American Baptist minister, military officer, and politician. Shortly after graduating from seminary and taking his first job as a pastor, he left his church to lead a company during the American Civil War. Injuries sustained on the battlefield eventually led to his discharge from the military. Following the war, Scott moved to Kansas where he grew one church and established several others. He continued in ministerial and evangelical efforts in Colorado and California before becoming an U.S. Army chaplain. After retiring from the army, Scott moved to the Salt River Valley where he founded and was active in the early promotion of Scottsdale, Arizona. Despite being an ordained minister, Scott preferred the style "Chaplain, U.S.A." to "Reverend". (Wikepedia)


Back in those days Scottsdale and Phoenix were not connected. You had to ride your horse a bit. The Salt River (Rio Salado) ran all year before the dams were built. One needed a ferry to get accross Rio Salado to the south at Hayden's Ferry (now Tempe). We will come to Hayden later.



Other names and streets


Per Michael Clancy, The Arizona Republic on azcentral.com, August 11, 2015, Scottsdale name and streets origin 


"Scottsdale, like every city, has a lot of names.

The history behind the names can illustrate the history of the city.

While many of the names refer to natural or man-made geographical features, others refer to early pioneers, early snowbirds and other prominent individuals.

Some are chosen just because they sound nice, or because they fit a theme.

Scottsdale historians JoAnne Handley, who runs the Scottsdale Historical Museum, and Joan Fudala, who writes books and operates an historical consulting business, know a lot of the history, and they helped compile this list.

Some of the names have been investigated before, by other reporters. Others seem to have obvious lineage, except for a few strange variations.

Many of the people are all but forgotten but for their names gracing a street, a park, a building or neighborhood.



This is the 18th hole at McCormick Ranch Palm Course. (Photo: McCormick Ranch Golf Club)

McCormick Ranch — See McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. The McCormicks, Fowler and Anne, assembled about 4,200 acres in the area, extending as far north as Shea Boulevard and east to Pima Road. The land was sold to Kaiser-Aetna in 1970 after Anne McCormick's death, and development commenced. Anne McCormick was a founder of the Arabian Horse industry in the Scottsdale area.

Gainey Ranch – The 640-acre development was home to a Minnesota native named Daniel Gainey, who made a fortune in the class-ring business. He was CEO of Jostens Inc. from 1933 to 1968. He died in 1979. The land was sold to Markland Properties in the 1980s and developed. Like Anne McCormick, he was a major player in the local Arabian horse scene.


The original DC cattle brand, dated June 1, 1885. (Photo: Beloit College Archives)

DC Ranch — Named for a brand used on the cattle ranch of city pioneer E. O. Brown, who assembled a huge tract of land in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains. The "DC" of the brand may refer to one "Doc" Crosby, a physician, who used the "Desert Camp" area for grazing. Brown's son, E.E. Brown, later brought on developer Kemper Marley as a partner. In the 1980s, they signed a development deal with DMB Associates, which developed the land.

Grayhawk — Development began in the 1990s in this area north of Loop 101 between Scottsdale and Pima roads. It was built on land purchased from the Arizona State Land Department, an agency that controls most vacant land remaining in the city. Grayhawk Development, led by a developer named Greg Tryhus, is best known for golf course development, and indeed, the neighborhood is best-known as a golf enclave. The origin of the name? Unclear.

Troon North — Like Grayhawk, this development (and surrounding parcels that ultimately became known as part of the area) was built on land purchased from the Land Department. Jerry Nelson was principal developer. Known for its beautiful, and expensive, golf courses, it is named after the Scottish golf community Troon.

Parks/public centers

Vista del Camino — Literally, "view of the road." This park abuts the southern end of Indian Bend Wash, along Roosevelt Street — presumably the road in question. The park and senior center provide recreation and services to plenty of people. The area south of Roosevelt and west of Hayden Road is known as the Penjamo neighborhood, for the Penjamo Yaqui Indians, who are part of the larger Pascua Yaqui Tribe with communities near Tucson and in Guadalupe. Yaquis migrated to Scottsdale in the 1920s to work on the Arizona Canal. By the 1950s, they had settled in Indian Bend Wash. In 1972, the Yaquis were relocated to the Penjamo neighborhood of about 50 homes, because their homes kept getting flooded, according to The Republic.


McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale. (Photo: The Republic)


Anne McCormick (Photo: The Republic)

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park — Guy Stillman, the son of James Stillman and Anne Urquhart Potter, was born in New York, New York, on Nov. 7, 1918, according to the park's website. His father was the president of National City Bank of New York (now Citibank). His mother, Anne, married into the McCormick family after her divorce from Stillman. Her second husband, Fowler McCormick, was the last living grandson of John D. Rockefeller. Fowler's other grandfather was Cyrus McCormick, the inventor of the reaper, which changed forever the way the world harvested grain. After graduating from Princeton, Fowler McCormick went on to become the chairman of the board at International Harvester. Anne and Fowler McCormick relocated during the winters in the 1940s to the area at Indian Bend and Scottsdale roads. Guy Stillman, their son, was an early benefactor of the park, building and later donating his 15-inch narrow gauge railroad to the property.



More Streets


Granite Reef Road — Just off Bush Highway north of Mesa, Granite Reef Dam diverts the Salt River into several canals that bring water to the Valley. Granite Reef Road, at its nearest, is 25 miles away. The dam was built in the early 1900s. The road may have been part of the route to the construction site.


Indian Bend Road — The major wash that starts near 32nd Street and Thunderbird Road in northeast Phoenix, runs to the southeast for several miles before making a hard turn to the south between McCormick Parkway and Lincoln Drive, provided the name. Indian Bend Road runs through the center of the bend. JoAnne Handley, who operates the Scottsdale Historical Museum, says when she was a child in the 1930s and '40s, the wash through Scottsdale was known as "the slough," a generic word referring to wetlands. She says she remembers the name "Indian Bend" being applied around the time the Army Corps of Engineers became involved in flood control in the area in the 1960s.

McDowell Road — This road led, in a roundabout way, to Fort McDowell, a cavalry outpost near the confluence of the Verde and Salt rivers. The Fort, the road, the McDowell Mountains and the development McDowell Mountain Ranch all get their name from a man who never stepped foot in Arizona. Civil War Gen. Irvin McDowell (1818-1885), a graduate of West Point, commanded Union troops when they were routed at the Battle of Bull Run. His career survived, and he was twice appointed to command of the Army Department of the Pacific. The fort was open from 1865 to approximately 1895; the name now is used for the Yavapai Indian Community that resides there.

Thomas Road — William E. Thomas was an early resident of Phoenix who served in several government positions and raised cattle.


Bell Road just south of the canal in 1999. (Photo: The Republic)


Shea Boulevard and Bell Road — The roads were named for James Shea and Harvey Bell, farmers who organized the Paradise Verde Irrigation District in 1916. The district was responsible for the Horseshoe Reservoir on the Verde River.

Marshall Way — A relatively minor street in downtown Scottsdale's Arts District, it was named for Thomas R. Marshall, a governor of Indiana and vice president under Woodrow Wilson. He is thought to have coined the phrase, "What this country needs is a really good 5-cent cigar" while presiding over the Senate and listening to a list of national needs. He and his wife visited Scottsdale, and she moved here after his death in 1925.

Hayden Road — Most things named Hayden in the Phoenix area are named for the Hayden family led by Charles Trumbull Hayden, a territorial pioneer who helped found Tempe and Arizona State University. His most famous offspring was Sen. Carl Hayden, one of the longest serving members of Congress. But Hayden Road in Scottsdale? Not named for the famous Haydens. Instead, according to Handley and Fudala, it was named for a city pioneer, Wilfred Hayden, who farmed in the area in the late 1890s and may have graded the byway that later became Hayden Road. Fudala said family members 

 Indian School Road-- Indian School Roads leads from the reservation to the old Indian School at Central Avenue and Indian School in Phoenix. Many historical buildings remain and a maze and Steele Park.


After a year-long search for a school site, the Indian School opened in 1891 on 160 acres of land. Up until 1931, the federal "assimilation" policy that sought to regimentalize and culturally assimilate Native American students was in place. Physical growth was the major theme in the 1890s as the school opened....per Wikepedia


Growth in students was quick to come under superintendents Wellington Rich and Harwood Hall. By 1896 there were 380 students, in comparison to just 100 at its 1891 founding. It had twelve buildings, including a "girls building" designed by prominent local architect J.M. Creighton (built 1892) and a Victorian-style hospital (built mid-1890s). However, the focus on growing the school didn't mean that the assimilation was occurring or meeting federal expectations. Some students did learn to speak English, however there were only four academic teachers by 1897. Vocational training was instead the emphasis: boys learned business skills and girls domestic skills. To that end, officials instituted the "outing system," which was loosely modeled after the outing program Richard Henry Pratt had instituted at Carlisle Indian Industrial School; students worked at off-campus jobs to gain experience and earn money, as well as to help assimilate them.


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Jeffrey Masich, Associate Broker, REALTOR®, MBA, GRI, BS Accounting


Scottsdale, Arizona







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