The Valley of the Sun Welcomes You!

Corrections Today, October 2004 | Go to article overview

The Valley of the Sun Welcomes You!


As the chill of winter sets in, take a break and enjoy the American Correctional Association's (ACA) 2005 Winter Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Located in the heart of the Southwest, Phoenix, or the "Valley of the Sun" as it is known locally, promises to be a winter paradise with moderate temperatures, sunny skies and breathtaking vistas. Prepare yourself for a journey filled with wonder and adventure as you kick off 2005 in the desert Southwest.

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Phoenix has a history dating back as early as 700 AD, evidenced by the Pueblo Grande Ruins, remains of a civilized, resourceful and industrious community that once inhabited the area. This early civilization constructed an irrigation system consisting of 135 canals tapping into the Salt River and providing water for the fertile lands. Mysteriously, this ancient civilization disappeared in the 1400s. Later Native Americans roving the area and witnessing the ruins and canals dubbed them the Hohokam, meaning "the people who have gone."

It was not until 1867 that the seeds for modern day Phoenix were planted. Traveling on horseback, Jack Swilling of Wickenburg stopped to take a rest, looked out upon the vast expanse of desert, experienced the favorable weather and envisioned a farming community. A small colony, Swillings Mill was formed four miles east of modern day Phoenix. The idea for a new name for the tiny settlement was born from the idea that, just as the legendary phoenix rises up from the ashes, the new town would spring from the ruins of a former civilization.

The late 1860s and 1870s brought continued growth to the lands. The townsite was officially recorded on February 15, 1873 and incorporated in 1881. The beginnings of a bustling city could be seen, complete with the first electric plants in the west located here. Transportation progressed with the first horse drawn streetcar line built along Washington Street in 1887. The long anticipated arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad rolled into the station soon after. The 1902 signing of the National Reclamation Act made it possible to build dams on western streams, and the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association was formed to manage the city's most precious commodity, its water supply.

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With Arizona gaining statehood on February 14, 1912, Phoenix transitioned into a booming metropolis. Within eight years Phoenix boasted a population of 29,000, a total of 1,080 buildings had been constructed and the Heard Building, Arizona's first skyscraper, loomed over the city.

As was the case with most downtowns, the second half of the 20th Century stunted the inner city's growth. But the downtown area has been undergoing a major facelift since the building of the America West Arena and Bank One Ballpark in the 1990s. Coffeehouses, restaurants, nightclubs and shopping in the Arizona Center have re-established downtown as the place to be.

We hope you will come and join thousands of your fellow corrections professionals for a journey of discovery as they gather for the 2005 Winter Conference on January 8-12, 2005 at the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center. This five-day event, which includes educational workshops and a variety of engaging social events, will hit full swing at 8:30 a.m. on January 10 with the Opening Session Keynote Speaker, Bernard B. Kerik.

Mr. …

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