Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

GillespieShields is committed to providing access to exceptional legal services throughout the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The firm is providing a reduction on all professional fees for new hourly matters through May 1, 2020. Please call our intake team today, 602 870 9700. Learn more

Fun Facts About The History Of Phoenix

The city of Phoenix, Arizona is the largest and most populous municipality in the state. Phoenix has a population of 1,608,139 residents and it’s also one of the most populous cities within America!

Phoenix is the anchor of a metropolitan area that stretches from its borders to encompass five other cities. The Valley of the Sun and Phoenix together create one of America’s largest metropolises, with an eye-popping 4.73 million residents in 2017! This makes it 11th on our list for population size out of 31 American communities holding this rank as well. With 2 times Tucson’s mass at 517 square miles, there will not be any shortage in things to do here when you visit!

Interesting Facts about the history

Phoenix, originally known as the Valley of the Sun, is one of America’s newest cities. However, it has a rich history that stretches back thousands and thousands of years ago! Below is all about Phoenix’s fascinating history dating back to before 500 A.D., when this valley was home to ancient Native American civilizations like The Hohokam who helped shape what we know today as Arizona!

  • Learn about the fascinating history of Phoenix, Arizona
  • Get a complete timeline showcasing all discoveries related to this region
  • Discover why the Hohokam civilization was so innovative in relation to their time period
  • Find out more about how Phoenix became one of America’s most well-known cities and what it means for you today!


Here are some fun facts about the History of Phoenix:


History of the First Americans

The Hohokam tribe are the first known settlers of the Phoenix area. They created irrigation canals that have lasted for over 2,000 years and were still in use today until they abruptly disappeared without explanation around 1450 A.D.. Historians aren’t sure what caused their disappearance but assume it was due to an extended drought.

  • Explore the rich history of Phoenix, Arizona
  • Compels one to explore the mysterious Hohokam tribe 
  • Discusses key historical events that are unknown in today’s society

The Founding of Phoenix, Arizona

In 1848, the United States gained control of what is now Phoenix from Mexico after defeating them in the Mexican-American War. Twenty years later in 1868, John W. Swilling founded modern day Phoenix when he observed its potential as a farming town while traveling through the Salt River Valley with his party of settlers who solved water problems by building canals that followed old Hohokam to bring more water there to irrigate the land.

The city of Phoenix may have been named after the Greek mythological bird, but its origins are far more humble. The name came from Darell Duppa who foresaw a great future for this settlement that was previously home to only 250 people  but by 1880 it had grown to around 2,500 and incorporated as a city in 1881.

In 1887, the Southern Pacific Train arrived in Phoenix and changed its economy forever. Since then, it has been a trade market that is not solely dependent on agriculture.

Early Rise of Phoenix

Once known as “The Valley of the Sun,” Arizona entered statehood on February 14th in 1912. This was also when Phoenix became its capital city and major technological advancements were helping to fuel growth within it. In fact, one such advancement included Roosevelt Dam which began construction back in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt himself! After five years of working hard at building this dam that supplied both water for irrigation & electrical power to the cities surrounding it all while being dedicated on May 18, 1911, people could finally see what had been done. It is still today considered the largest masonry dam among others throughout history!

  • Interesting facts about Phoenix
  • Historical landmarks
  • Something new to learn
  • Relive Arizona’s rich past

The economic boom of the 1920s was very significant for Phoenix, as it doubled in population size and Arizona’s first skyscraper – The Heard Building – rose to seven stories tall. In addition to cotton, citrus, and cattle made possible by Theodore Roosevelt Dam, he also created a dam that helped create an economy based on tourism which brought even more people into the city during this time period.

GillespieShields Phoenix Arizona Top Family Law Attorney

By Azwatchdog – Own work, CC BY 2.5,

Phoenix Today

In the last few years, Phoenix has become a popular location for people looking to settle down. With 1.5 million residents and ever-increasing popularity among transplants from across the country, it is now one of America’s top 5 largest cities by population size alone!

Phoenix is a city of growth and opportunity. A culturally rich metropolis, Phoenix is home to music venues, museums, world-class cuisine, universities, colleges and professional sports teams. What was once a rugged frontier town is now an important business and cultural hub. Meeting challenges is part of the history of Phoenix. There’s no doubt that it will continue to rise above them and prosper as one of America’s leading cities for decades to come! So what are you waiting for? Come experience the city known as the valley of the sun today!

Phoenix, Arizona is blessed to be the home of so many amazing museums.  Here’s a short list of our favorites you should check out on your next visit: 

  • Phoenix Art Museum
  • Heard Museum
  • Musical Instrument Museum
  • Arizona Science Center
  • ASU Art Museum
  • Children’s Museum of Phoenix
  • Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
  • OdySea Aquarium
  • Hall of Flame Fire Museum

All of these wonderful museums are located just a short distance from our offices located at 7319 North 16th Street in Phoenix, Arizona! Stop by for a visit anytime!

Contact Us

Phoenix Location

7319 North 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85020 | 602-870-9700

Mesa Location

1630 S. Stapley Drive, Suite 212, Mesa, AZ 85204 | 480-985-4000