Arizona History

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Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian, will talk about Arizona’s rich history in honor of the state’s 102nd birthday on February 14.

Ted Simons: Tomorrow Arizona celebrates 102 years of statehood and more than a few major political figures have helped the state reach its latest birthday. Here to talk about Arizona's history and the political names that helped shape that history is Arizona's official state historian, Marshall Trimble. Good to see you again.

Marshall Trimble: Good to be here again. Glad to be back.

Ted Simons: Good. We got you back. It is a big day, always a big time, after years, seems like everyone gets excited every year. Before we get to some of the names, real quickly, the road to state hood, it was kind of rocky, wasn't it?

Marshall Trimble: It was really rocky, a lot of reasons and varied over the years depending on when you are talking about it. It might have been gold, silver, the price of the gold and silver standard and the Apache wars and the Cochise County fighting down there and Pleasant Valley War -- it kind of shifted as we came closer to the 20th century, shifted more to political reasons.

Ted Simons: Mining was so big in the early years. Mining shaped the state early on.

Marshall Trimble: It really did. There were others, cattle, railroads and such but mining was king.

Ted Simons: Speaking of king, some folks still consider this guy the king of the state of Arizona. And that is Carl Hayden. Who was Carl Hayden?

Marshall Trimble: He was an interesting man. His father came in -- actually to Tucson in the 1850s, one of the first Americans to pull into Tucson. He was a real product of Arizona, Carl was, too. And he was a sheriff of Maricopa County before he became the first senator. So, he was interesting. He even made the first in America the first captured train robbers driving a car.

Ted Simons: You're kidding me?

Marshall Trimble: Yeah, in 1910. It made him so famous. That was why when the election for senator came, Carl Hayden was a household name. Two train robbers, two brothers, Woodson brothers robbed the train near Maricopa. He went down -- they headed across the desert, way was foolish even on a horse, headed for Mexico. And he was smart enough to appropriate, a car for himself and he caught up with them.

Ted Simons: Carl Hayden served from 1927 to 1969 . That's amazing.

Marshall Trimble: It was at the time the longest of any -- I think it might have been surpassed by somebody, but nobody -- he was effective right up to the end.

Ted Simons: Indeed. I know he was referred to as the silent senator. Didn't say much. Didn't have to say much. He was big on environment and these sorts of things. A lot of the names we talk about tonight very big on the environment.

Marshall Trimble: He was called the work horse. Most of the time he had a show horse with him, Barry Goldwater and Henry F. Asher. They were kind of show horses and they were out there, public very much aware. He worked quietly in the background, but, boy was he effective.

Ted Simons: He sure was. Another effective Arizonan early on, Earnest McFarland. It seems like he did just about everything.

Marshall Trimble: Another one of my favorites. Out of Oklahoma and a little small town judge.

Ted Simons: Quickly, second from the left, that is Carl Hayden on the left and McFarland second from the left.

Marshall Trimble: Right.

Ted Simons: Okay. Go ahead, please.

Marshall Trimble: And he was a judge down in Pinal County and became senator, and he was the father -- we call him the father of the G.I. bill which I think was the smartest piece of legislation this country ever passed. When the G.I.s were coming home and they could now go to college. And that education, and I always tell people that education, they made more money when they graduated and they paid more in taxes so it was the best investment this government ever made and I think it should continue to get people educated so that they can make more money and pay more taxes.

Ted Simons: There you go. Fathered the G.I. bill, that's amazing, but also laid the foundation for the Central Arizona Project, along with Carl Hayden, didn't he?

Marshall Trimble: That fight had been going on for a long time. That is something that I wanted to emphasize tonight was how they worked together. They were democrats and republicans and we will be going through some of them I think here. They worked -- they worked for Arizona. Didn't have a personal agenda here. It was to get water -- get -- bring water into the central part of Arizona, mainly Tucson and Phoenix.

Ted Simons: And, again, it sounds like McFarland, along with Carl Hayden, they didn't succeed themselves but laid the foundation for others. The Udall brothers, what an achieving family. Talk to us about Stewart Udall.

Marshall Trimble: Both of them have deep roots in Arizona. Stewart Kennedy's choice for secretary of interior. He was a Congressman in Congress before that and had a distinguished career in Congress. Then he was the first Arizonan to be picked on a cabinet.

Ted Simons: Yes.

Marshall Trimble: When John F. Kennedy picked him.

Ted Simons: And big on obviously environmental issues, clean air, clean water, these sorts of things. It seems like every person we talk about, they're not necessarily environmentalists, although Stewart Udall could be defined as such, but it is coming from the west. A big factor.

Marshall Trimble: Yes. Arizona was really blessed. I can't think of another state that was blessed with more capable leaders than we had during those years. Actually throughout -- through the 20th century.

Ted Simons: Stewart Udall served in the house, interior secretary, had to leave Congress to take on a cabinet position. And then little brother Mo --

Marshall Trimble: Mo was one of the greatest. He ran for president, too funny to be president, title of a book that he wrote. He was -- he was one of the most loved and respected men on both sides of the aisle, and I always think that is the judge of a good statesman. Not a politician, a statesman.

Ted Simons: We see him introducing Jimmy Carter there. He ran in the primaries against Jimmy Carter. He was considered the liberal alternative to Jimmy Carter. An Arizonan considered a liberal alternative.

Marshall Trimble: That's right. I think Mo would have made a great president.

Ted Simons: Yeah. Certainly good for sound bits.

Marshall Trimble: He -- that line he had, he said he went in to -- in the primary in New Hampshire, he walked into a barber shop and said I was -- I'm Mo Udall, running for president. They said yeah, we were just laughing about that this morning. He wrote a book. Took that for a title.

Ted Simons: The Udall brothers, LDS family there, with a lot of history in Arizona. The LDS influence, pretty strong in Arizona.

Marshall Trimble: Yes, it is. And St. John's, and we have had some great Mormon politicians and representatives here in this state.

Ted Simons: It is interesting that the Udalls were liberals, and now it seems like a lot of the LDS were conservatives,speaking of conservatives, let's get to Mr. Conservative. Barry Goldwater.

Marshall Trimble: I don't think he was really planning to run. He told Howard Pyle to run for governor, and Howard said I won't win. Barry said I know you won't, but you have to run. And he won. Two years later, McFarland was Senate majority leader, and Barry said the same thing, I can't beat that guy. I'll lose. Pyle says I know you will, but you have to run. He pulled at the time the most stunning political upset in Arizona history.

Ted Simons: Born in Phoenix to a family of merchants and I think long-time Arizonans will still remember Goldwater's department store.

Marshall Trimble: His grandfather, Mike, one of the first to start a business in Arizona when we became a territory.

Ted Simons: Most of the customers were the miners we were talking about. Barry Goldwater ran for president in 1964. Lost huge, I think only Arizona and about four, five southern states voted for him, yet that laid the foundation for a conservative uprising in later years.

Marshall Trimble: It sure did. It sowed the seeds that made Ronald Reagan president, and that was the start. Barry probably in my opinion -- I watch these things, the most respected loser in the presidential race in American history, I think.

Ted Simons: Interesting.

Marshall Trimble: He never lost the respect. He returned back to the Senate. And he was always thought of as -- especially the way things turned out with Johnson.

Ted Simons: Well, exactly.

Marshall Trimble: It made Barry look awful good.

Ted Simons: Not only that, Mr. Conservative and was the conscience of a conservative, his book, by 1989, he looked at the republican party and -- he called them a bunch of cooks. He spoke his mind.

Marshall Trimble: He is a very pragmatic man. He shifted -- he changed with the times. And today he would be called a liberal republican, or maybe -- maybe a liberal democrat.

Ted Simons: I think he was called that even --

Marshall Trimble: What I have always respected about him he was a straight shooter. I worked with him for about 20 years. I introduced him at the Goldwater lecture series for that long and I got to know him. We never talked politics. We talked history. He loved history. But you would get a straight answer out of him.

Ted Simons: You sure did. John Rhodes, we talked about the Central Arizona Project the foundation laid before, John Rhodes was really there when it happened.

Marshall Trimble: John Rhodes was, and another one of the outstanding legislators, Congressmen we had came in 1952 with Goldwater. Was not a long-time native. He came here as a result of World War II. He was stationed out here and decided to come to Arizona, settle in Mesa. And he later was, you know, Senate majority -- I mean house majority leader. And when they say when Nixon was talked into resigning, there were three people in the room, and two of them were Arizonans, John Rhodes and Barry Goldwater.

Ted Simons: Isn't that something. And he served years and succeeded by John McCain in the house.

Marshall Trimble: Right.

Ted Simons: Paul Fannin is not necessarily a name recognized, tell us about Paul Fannin.

Marshall Trimble: Governor, a long-time Arizonan, noted sports figure here when the heyday of softball. He loves to talk about it. Every time he and I talked, we talked about sports. And he became governor, was a good governor, and it -- they were working on the CAP together. He was a part of that, too. In the Senate, he was very effective when he was in the Senate and working on that bringing the CAP. We had a tough fight because -- from the 1920s on, California was the giant to the west, and they were the giant water guzzler and we were -- we were fighting to get our share of the water.

Ted Simons: It's interesting. Every single person we have talked about so far had some sort of hand in the Central Arizona Project, getting that Colorado river water to Phoenix which is the biggest reason that Phoenix is what it is today.

Marshall Trimble: You're right. At 13,000 square mile watershed up there and all of the runoff runs into the salt river, which runs through the hardest valley. When they completed that dam, the future of central Arizona, the valley especially, was ensured.

Ted Simons: Last person I want to talk about, a trailblazer on so many fronts, Sandra Day O'Connor. Not necessarily an Arizona native but it sure feels like it.

Marshall Trimble: I think of her as a native. The Day ranch had been there since 1880. Harry Day, Henry Clay Day before, her dad was Harry Day. I spent some time with her on the ranch in Duncan. She went to school, was born in El Paso because really -- it was the hospital that -- the nearest hospital. And she was educated there, too, because of the -- it was a chance to get her a better education. She is still an Arizonan. And I think -- and I think she had such an important role on the Supreme Court. You never -- what I admire the most about justice O'Connor was you never knew she was -- she had made the decision -- some -- you can predict what they're going to vote. You know ahead of time how they're going to vote. With her, she studied it, and she was brilliant, and she was -- she studied the issues before she cast the vote and she surprised a lot of people with her votes, but she was -- to me, very -- the most important member of that court when she was on it, I thought.

Ted Simons: We've only got 30 seconds left. All of these people, they all seem to have something in common. What do you think it is?

Marshall Trimble: They're Arizonans.

Ted Simons: What does that mean?

Marshall Trimble: Justice O'Connor probably explained it the best. Out here in the west, and it isn't just Arizona, but out here in the west, we learned -- we picked up and -- you know, we just -- we learned to take charge of things, and maybe it is because of the ruralness of us, but kids born on ranches grow up with responsibilities and I think it is just the nature of Arizonans and we have had, like I said, we have been blessed with so many great leaders. I hope the 21st century has the same.

Ted Simons: 102 years and counting. Good to have you here.

Marshall Trimble: It's nice to be here, Ted.

Marshall Trimble:Historian, Arizona

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