Western Naysayers

I’m getting kind of tired of folks arguing about Scottsdale’s slogan, “The West’s Most Western Town.” I’m tired of it because,

  1. It doesn’t matter.
  2. If it does matter, we have the legitimate history to back it up.

Mark Scarp of the East Valley Tribune is the latest pundit to try to puncture this 1950’s marketing balloon. He claims,

Scottsdale has no real Old West heritage…Scottsdale was founded in 1888…

What we call the rootin’, tootin’ shoot-‘em-up Wild West — based on Western movies’ descriptions of an era that seemed like the entire 19th century — in fact lasted only about 20 years between approximately 1870 and 1890…

However, the slogan is NOT, “The West’s Most OLD Western Town.”

I believe “Western” in our case refers to our efforts to preserve the connection to our cattle ranching, cowboy history.

Among others, E.O. Brown’s DC (Desert Camp) Ranch encompassed 44,000 acres of what is now North Scottsdale. Cattle ranching and cattle drives (some through downtown Scottsdale) continued well into the 20th Century, as evidenced by this photo of Indian School and Scottsdale Road from around 1920.

Cattle drive - Indian School and Scottsdale

If cattle ranching, cowboys, and cattle drives through downtown in our history don’t qualify us as a grown-up Western town, I don’t know what would. While the cattle industry is (as far as I know) now firmly part of our past, the Western culture is still equally a part of Scottsdale today.

So find something else to argue about, will you? Like maybe…water. Now THAT’S a Western tradition that is still celebrated!

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3 Comments

  1. When my family first moved to Scottsdale in November of 1960 Scottsdale was still driving cattle down Scottsdale Road to kick off the Parada del Sol Rodeo and Parade. The old rodeo grounds was right in the area where we now have a baseball park and parking garage.

    We still had the Dudettes as greeters for special events and our schools had Western Week and we wore real western gear to school and anywhere you went around town.

    Respect the Western culture that brought prosperity to this area.

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