Located in Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and the only wonder located within the United States. As I spend five months a year in Scottsdale AZ, I discovered a dozen other facts about this state.
- The Castilian and Burgundian flags of Spain, the Mexican flag, the Confederate flag and the flag of the United States have flown over the land area of Arizona. As the 48th state to join the Union on February 14, 1912, Arizona is dubbed the “Valentine State.”
- Built in 1970, the fountain in Fountain Hills used to be the tallest in the world. It extends to its full height of 560 feet on special occasions; for everyday viewing it reaches a height of 330 feet. King Fahd’s Fountain in Saudi Arabia surpassed it in 1985.
- Arizona has the largest percentage of land designated as Indian lands and 21 federally recognized American Indian tribes.
- Women in Arizona had their votes counted in the 1916 presidential election prior to national women’s suffrage in 1920.
- Until President Obama, every president since Herbert Hoover (1929-33) has stayed at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. (P.S. 13 in all.) (P.P.S. The Biltmore is an architectural masterpiece, showcasing the seminal influence of America’s renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who happens this year to be celebrating — like Canada — the sesquicentennial of his birth.)
- The original Capitol building (1901) in Phoenix features a copper dome equivalent to 4.8 million pennies.
- The longest running continuous franchise in the NFL, dating back to 1898, is the Arizona Cardinals.
- The criminal case of Ernesto Miranda led to mandated Miranda rights. Miranda v. Arizona (1966) was a Supreme Court case that overturned Miranda’s conviction for kidnapping and rape because no one informed him of his legal rights prior to confessing. Miranda did not know, for example, he could ask for an attorney or remain silent during questioning.
- Arizona is larger than the United Kingdom, which is 93,628 square miles including England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
- The Great Papago Escape was the largest Axis prisoner-of-war escape to occur from an American facility during WWII. On December 23, 1944, twenty-five Germans tunnelled out of Camp Papago Park, near Phoenix, and fled into the surrounding desert. Although the escapees were recaptured without bloodshed, a few nearly made it to the border of Mexico, about 130 miles south of the camp.
- The largest nuclear plant in the US, fully operational in 1988, resides in Arizona, supplying about 35% of the electricity generated in the state each year.
- The Sonoran Desert is the only place on earth where the iconic saguaro cactus grows. Saguaros can grow up to 60 feet high, weigh between 3200 and 4800 pounds when fully hydrated, and live as long as 200 years.
Feel free to add your favourite Arizona facts or send other facts to me for future Friday posts. •