The population of Phoenix, Arizona, reached 5,554 at the turn of the century. Governor Murphy dedicated the permanent state Capitol building on February 25, 1901. An 11-acre site was purchased on the west end of Washington Street for $130,000. A bill passed by the state legislature in 1901 allowed such a tax to support free libraries, so the Phoenix City Council levied a $5,000,000 tax. In his proposal, Andrew Carnegie set conditions for donating a library building to the city. The Carnegie Free Library opened in 1908, dedicated by Benjamin Fowler.
Phoenix’s warm, dry climate was an attraction for tuberculosis patients when the only cure was to rest in a warm location. In 1895, the sisters of Mercy opened St. Joseph’s Hospital with 24 private rooms for tuberculosis patients. The city’s Protestants funded a new hospital despite the Catholic population being small and poor. The sisters opened Arizona’s first nursing school in 1910. Today, St. Joseph’s Hospital is managed by Dignity Health, and the sisters of Mercy are still in charge. The sisters also ran Sacred Heart Academy until 1901. In 1917, the sisters of the Precious Blood opened St. Mary’s Catholic High School. The Jesuits opened Brophy College Preparatory for boys in 1928.
During his presidency, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Reclamation Act, which permitted the building of dams on western streams for reclamation purposes. In 1903, residents organized the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association to manage the water and power supply. The Salter Project still operates as an agency. In 1906, the construction of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam began. Upon construction, it became the first dam under the National Reclamation Act to supply water and electricity. The former president dedicated the dam on May 18, 1911, forming several freshwater lakes in the surrounding mountain ranges.
Phoenix has a charter that gives the city home rule, but not in the fullest sense. Courts have determined that when the Legislature passes a law that affects cities and towns, the court determines whether the law is of statewide concern or municipal or local concern. The law is binding on the City of Phoenix, even if it violates some charter provisions.
Here are some stunning historical photos that will take you back to the 1900s in Phoenix, Arizona.