The ending of a 20-year drought prompted tens of hundreds to have a good time Thanksgiving in the streets of downtown Phoenix in April of 1941.
PHOENIX — As Arizonans take pleasure in a slice of pie on Thanksgiving, this is a bit of state historical past that many might not find out about.
Phoenix once hosted a large Thanksgiving occasion… in April.
“This story does present hope issues can change shortly,” mentioned Douglas Towne, a author, historian and hydrologist.
Towne stumbled upon the story of the distinctive vacation celebration whereas in the Arizona Room in the Burton Barr Library. He discovered it had nothing to do with turkey or trimmings. It all stemmed from water.
“Going back to the start in 1911, Theodore Roosevelt Dam was finished, and the Valley thought that they had this dependable water supply and their water worries were in the background,” Towne said. “Not true.”
Around 1920, Arizona was hit with a drought and by 1940, Roosevelt Lake was practically dry.
“Water restrictions had been in place. Swimming swimming pools weren’t being stuffed. People had been actually frightened,” Towne mentioned.
But then got here a miraculous plan. And it stored coming.
“In commemoration of the heavens opening up, so to talk, Governor Osborn determined to carry a day of Thanksgiving in April 1941 and to have a good time our bountiful water provides,” Towne defined.
It was a celebration for the ages. Towne mentioned tens of hundreds of individuals gathered in downtown Phoenix for one of the largest celebrations in the state as much as that time.
Central Avenue transformed right into a 500-seater chuckwagon restaurant.
“Chuckwagon dinners, dances, Phoenix’s largest band as much as that time with 500 members,” Towne described.
Now, greater than 80 years later, Arizona’s water considerations are again. But this story serves as hope that historical past can repeat itself.
“I imagine if we got a lot of precipitation in the Colorado River watershed, something would certainly happen to start a party going here,” Towne mentioned.
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