|Stacie Monroe, freelance journalist|
|Valley of the Sun|
In any case, October is a beautiful time of the year to visit Phoenix. Summer’s intense sun has mellowed; snowbirds haven’t migrated in yet; and one can enjoy all the Valley of the Sun has to offer in the Sonoran Desert’s northeastern expanse.
During the 1300 and 1400’s, the Hohokam peoples created about 135 miles of irrigation canals. Their knowledge of the land and its promise proved valuable in some of those same canal paths being used for the current Arizona Canal, Central Arizona Project Canal (which diverts water from the Colorado River, hence my interest), and Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct water projects.
Phoenix was founded in the 1850s by Jack Swilling, a Civil War veteran, who, like the Hohokam, saw potential in the Salt River Valley at the foot of the White Tank Mountains. He, too, had a series of canals built. The broader availability of water encouraged development of a small community called Pumpkinville. Named for the bumper crops grown alongside the man-made water sources, it lay about four miles east and several name changes from the eventual home 150 years later to 1.6 million people gathered within 475 square miles. Amazing!