February 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Arizona

From Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion:

February 14th is, among other things, Statehood Day in Arizona. This means that someone, somewhere, will publish the inevitable “greatest Arizonans who ever lived” or “people/events that changed Arizona” lists in newspapers or blogs. The results of these lists are predictable. They nearly always, for instance, include Barry Goldwater. I have nothing against Goldwater’s inclusion, but the late Senator is a little like the Beatles; yeah they were great; yes, things are different because of what they did, but that does not mean that they are not over-rated.

So I am making my own list. This list will not include easy choices like Goldwater, Kino and Poston, names which should already be familiar to most readers. Instead, I take this opportunity to highlight some of the individuals whose names should be familiar, but have instead slipped into relative obscurity despite their role in shaping the Arizona we all know and love.

My standards in making this list are fairly simple. First, the named individual must no longer be alive and must have no institutions, streets, towns, parks, or substantial monuments named for them. Naturally, the individual must have made a lasting, positive contribution to Arizona during their lifetime regardless of the length of their residency in the state. This last one is, of course, highly subjective, and I will have to admit not only to my geographic bias as a Tucsonan but also my political bias as a Democrat. Anyone who has an issue with one of my choices, or someone I did not choose, should feel free to make these views known.

You'll have to check out his blog for the descriptions of each person, but here is the list:

  1. Antonio Siraumea
  2. General José Cosme Urrea
  3. The Great Western
  4. Manuelito
  5. Colonel Edward Ephraim Cross
  6. Elizabeth Josephine Brawley Hughes
  7. Governor Louis Cameron Hughes
  8. Wenceslao “Three-Fingered Jack” Loustaunau
  9. Father Bonaventure Oblasser, O.F.M.
  10. Governor Samuel Pearson “Sam” Goddard Jr.

Happy Birthday, Arizona!

"You know you're an Arizonan when a rainy day puts you in a good mood."
Marshall Trimble,
Official State Historian

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