From 2000 people in 1951 to over 185,000 in 1997, Scottsdale has changed a lot over the years. The area was originally occupied by the Hohokam Indians from about 800 to about 1400 A.D. irrigating with their amazing canal systems. Founded by an Army Chaplain named Winfield Scott in 1888 who moved here to farm citrus, sweet potatoes, and peanuts, it likes to bill itself as "The West's Most Western Town" and really is one of the nicest places to live in the Valley (I lived there for 10 years!). It was incorporated in 1951. The very high quality of life should be, in my opinion, credited to the late Herb Drinkwater, who as mayor for many years helped create the well planned, sophisticated, and cultured town Scottsdale is now. Scottsdale is unique in the Valley in that it does not have a storm sewer system, relying instead on a 7.5 mile long greenbelt/wash/flood control project masquerading as parks, lakes, and golf courses. It is hailed as a masterpiece; unfortunately in reality it sucks, and Scottsdale roads flood out after as little as one inch of rain. But anyway...
It is the Valley leader in the hospitality industry, with fine resorts, hotels, and restaurants scattered through its heart. Mayo Clinic has a facility here, and Discount Tire, Dial Corporation, and Motorola all call the town home. It is currently one of the top art markets in the nation, and used to be the king of the Arabian horse world until that fell apart in the late 1980's.
Things to Do:
Taliesin West: Staring in 1937, this was once Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home and desert studio, and now tours are available through his home and parts of the School of Architecture it has turned into. Actually, I went on this tour for the first time to appease my mother who was in from out of town, and I have gone back a few times. It is pretty neat, and gives you an appreciation for the man, whose work can be found all over the Valley, and the country. They offer two tours, an hour long one ($14.00 /adults; $11.00/Seniors and Students; $3.00/children) and a three hour long one. Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., longer hours in May-September. 114th Street and Cactus, call (480) 860-8810.
WestWorld: This facility was designed to be used as a Rodeo ground, horse auction, and classic car venue. The Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction is held here every January, and it is a ball to go to as a spectator. I once sold a car at the auction though, and I would not recommend it...
Rawhide: a tourist trap on north Scottsdale Road. It bills itself as a western town, but I look at it as a fancy restaurant with extravagant scenery. If you look at it my way, I don't think you will be disappointed. Go early, take in the sites, maybe ride a camel, a carriage, or a donkey, and then skip the Steak House in favor of the Sundown Cookout. (reservations required, call (480) 502 5600). For this you ride a mule drawn hay wagon to a desert location (on the property, of course), have great food in a much more fun atmosphere than any restaurant gives. Do Rawhide this way, and it is highly recommended. Any other way is kind of a let down. Located 4 miles north of Bell Road at 23023 North Scottsdale Road, call (480) 502 1880 for more info. Free admission, open daily from about 5pm.
Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction Really, one of the best in the world. Last year they had over 800 cars go over the ramp, including any type of car you can think of. A little pricey to get in as a spectator, and not worth selling your car there unless it is truly something special, the auction is otherwise heaven for the car enthusiast. To marvel at the cars, go early because they get hauled off as they sell, and the earlier days are cheaper to get in. For the most excitement, go Saturday afternoon, as the most desirable cars are bid on. Also part of the scene is a display by Chrysler, over 200 vendor booths, a restoration pavilion, a memorabilia auction, a fashion show, and this year they will hold a road rally. For more information call (480) 273-0791.
Saba's Western Wear: Right in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale sits two (yes, practically next door to one another) Saba's Stores. The manager at 7254 Main Street is named Scott Saba, and is really a nice guy. Knows his stuff, too. Phone number is (480) 949-7404. The building his store is in is also one of the oldest in town still standing. Right around the corner, at 3965 North Brown is another Saba's, ask for Roger or Marina. (480) 947-7644. The shopping experience is great, the clothing is authentic and quality (but not cheap), and you will not regret the time you spend shopping here. If you come to Arizona, you gotta do some western shopping, don't you?
Places to Stay:
Renaissance Cottonwood Resort: Private, old style bungalows, many with hot tubs. Good location, very nice but kind of pricey. Worth it if you can afford it. 6160 North Scottsdale Road, call (480)991-1414
Scottsdale Princess: Offers both traditional style accommodations and condo style bungalows. Known for being a golf resort, and for being upscale. 7575 East Princess Drive, call (480)585-4848. Prices start from $125.
Places to Eat:
The Sugar Bowl: Ice Cream parlor and restaurant. In the same location since 1958. The food is not all that great, but the ice cream is phenominal, and the experiance makes it all worthwhaile. Kind of gives you the '50s ice cream parlor feel. Highly recomended by all the locals! 4005 N. Scottsdale Road, (480) 946-0051
Click Here to Buy a Good Current Map Now!
� Copyright 1998 Q87 International & Vincent Davis. All rights reserved.
Last revised: October 30, 1998