And the Band Played On…


Photograph of two dogs sitting at a piano at the Ganado Navajo Presbyterian Mission in Ganado (Ariz.)

This month, we’re celebrating music at the Archives! We have some interesting finds, including two piano-playing dogs, and sheet music for an Evan Mecham song! But you’ll have to stop by the Archives to see the rest!



Photograph of boys in the marching band at Phoenix Indian School, Phoenix (Ariz.), ca. 1907


Photograph/colorized postcard of the Arizona School of Music in Phoenix (Ariz.), ca. 1910



The Arizona State Fair

Take me out to the fair!Well, friends, it’s just about that time again – the time of year when you can purchase just about every kind of food imaginable, deep fried and served on a stick. Where you can see your favorite bands from high school, twenty years after their peak.

The Arizona Territorial Fair was first held in 1884, and morphed into the State Fair once Arizona gained statehood. The experienced some rough years during the Great Depression and World War II, but has been going strong since 1946. The fair has hosted some big name acts, and Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, and the Rolling Stones have all performed there!

While the Arizona State Planning and Building Commission went as far as to draw up plans to relocate the fair from it’s home west of 17th Avenue between McDowell and Encanto in Phoenix to Papago Park, plans were eventually scrapped and the fair remained at it’s historic location. The fairgrounds is home to some pretty impressive historical structures! Some highlights include the Gem and Mineral Building (1918), the Grandstand arena (funded by the WPA, 1936), and the Coliseum (1946).


Letterhead from the 1914 Arizona State Fair


Photograph of a woman working at a booth at the Arizona State Fair, Phoenix (Ariz.)., PG 18 Dick Gilmore. 01-6188.jpg


The site of the current fairgrounds, located between McDowell and Encanto west of 17th Avenue, was purchased in 1905.


In 1957, the Arizona State Planning and Building Commission proposed a massive development of Papago Park that would have moved the State Fair east.

Photograph/color image of facilities and events at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix (Ariz.), 04-5455.jpg

Photograph/color image of facilities and events at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix (Ariz.), 04-5457.jpg

Photograph of a rodeo clown at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix (Ariz.), 03-0268.jpg


Photograph of a boy skateboarding at the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix (Ariz.), 03-0277.jpg

Happy Archives Month!

October is Archives Month across the country, and here in Arizona, we decided to focus our annual Archives Month Poster on Ghost Towns of Arizona! We chose the theme to focus on towns in their heyday, but to also look at how these towns look today. Towns would spring up as part of boom or bust economies, often centered on resources such as mining, ranching, or timber. We’re delighted this year to have a good representation from across the state – everything from Metcalf, the copper town in Greenlee County, to Charleston, the mill town in Cochise County that provided timber for Tombstone. If you’d like your own copy of the poster, just fill out the form at the bottom of the page! 

Archives Month poster 2015

The 2015 Archives Month Poster!

We also took the opportunity to explore and display some of the goodies from our own collections, and you can stop by and see them in our display case in the reading room!

GhostTowns3 GhostTowns2 GhostTowns1We’re happy to mail you a copy of the Archives Month Poster! Just provide us with a little information here! 


Cartoonists Steve Benson and Russ Kazmierczak come to the Arizona Capitol Museum!

ADNP Poster Social MediaThe Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) and the Arizona Capitol Museum (AZCM) are excited to welcome Steve Benson, Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist for The Arizona Republic and Russ Kazmierczak creator of Amazing Arizona Comics to the opening of our newest exhibit “Show me Arizona: Illustrations of History,” on September 12th 2015 at 11:00 am. The exhibit will be located in the 3rd floor rotunda of the Arizona Capitol Museum.

Our guest speakers, Steve Benson and Russ Kazmierczak will introduce the exhibit with a short presentation in the 3rd floor’s Historic Senate chambers. “Show Me Arizona: Illustrations of History” will feature cartoons that reflect Arizona’s political journey to statehood. Visitors will also be able to interact with this display by utilizing two Surface Tablet touchscreens. So make your way down to the Arizona State Capitol Museum (AZCM) and join the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) for more History at Your Fingertips on a Family Fun Saturday!

Back to School

BacktoSchoolSeptember is here, we’re crossing our fingers for cooler temps, and kids from primary school on up to university have started their classes once again! This month, we’ll be highlighting some of our school related collections. This month, we’ll be displaying goodies ranging from the examination teachers had to take for certification in the late 19th century to student coursebooks, photos to old yearbooks. Stop by and see the exhibit in the Archives Reading Room during the month of September!


The act establishing public schools for the Territory of Arizona, 1868.


Phoenix High School Yearbook, 1914.


Phoenix High School Yearbook, 1914.



Department of Education Superintendent of Public Instruction Examination Questions for Teacher Certification, 1887-1903.


Photograph of students participating in physical education at Jerome High School in Jerome (Ariz.), 1890s.


Photograph of the library at Jerome High School in Jerome (Ariz.), 1890s.


An Act to Create the City of Phoenix

Sometimes we forget just how many treasures we have here at the State Archives! As fate would have it, just two days after the City of Phoenix elections, we stumbled across this – An Act to Incorporate the City of Phoenix, signed in 1881! Things have changed a bit since 1881. The City of Phoenix now has eight city council members, rather than four. Elections no longer happen in May.

This Act is tucked away in our Secretary of the Territory collection (precursor to Secretary of State, of course), which is a bit of a catch-all for all sorts of interesting things. If you’d like to see records like these in person, you’re always welcome to visit us at 1901 W. Madison. And for more information about the fabulous Secretary of the Territory collection, check our our FINDING AID ON ARIZONA ARCHIVES ONLINE!