Did Arizona Become a State on Valentine's Day?
It was February 14, 1912, when President William Howard Taft strode into the Oval Office and signed a bill that amended Arizona Territory into the State of Arizona. Though it took a simple signature to enact statehood, the actual efforts to get here were long and arduous.
While February 14th is nationally known as Valentine’s Day, Arizonans know that on this day in history Arizona completed the 48 conterminous United States in the union.
How did this union begin?
The entirety of present-day Arizona belonged to independent Mexico in 1821. When expansionists spread out West, conflicts over territory arose, leading to the Mexican-American war which spanned from 1846 until 1848.
When the dust settled, Mexico ceded 70% of northern Arizona to the U.S. The land was considered a territory of New Mexico, but later it became its own Arizona Territory under the Confederacy. A couple of decades after the Civil War, residents petitioned for Arizona’s statehood several times, but to no avail. A big reason was population. People were dubious about the viability of the desert land, but that all changed.
The population boomed
From a first look, the desert environment gave doubts to its productivity. Yet, copper mining was Arizona’s premier industry and satisfied a rapidly growing market. Cattle, cotton, citrus, and more agricultural interests brought in homesteaders to develop farming economies. Arizona held the powerful five C’s: copper, cattle, cotton, citrus, and climate.
Gradually, more people recognized the Arizona climate was not only worth developing, but its environment was cleaner than other states and a warm respite from the harsh winter conditions.
Once the widespread availability of refrigeration and air conditioning developed, more people called Arizona home. A far cry from its population of 217,000 people in 1912, Arizona is currently home to 7.2 million people today.
So, Why February 14th?
Bad luck and better timing: It took some time for Taft to feel secure in the constitution of the state. But, when he ultimately decided to sign the statehood papers, planners hoped he would ratify Arizona on Lincoln’s birthday, February 12th. Unfortunately, Taft was out of town and everyone considered the 13th to be bad luck, so the signing was pushed back to February 14th — the day to commemorate love and admiration.
We admire our great state, and all over Arizona, visitors and long-time residents alike can uncover new, exciting opportunities here — from historical landmarks to expansive hiking trails. There’s an adventure for anyone.
Ready to ring in the celebration of Arizona’s 110th anniversary by calling it home?
At Fairfield Homes, we create gorgeous semi-custom and custom homes blended with the natural landscape and optimized for grand views of the Tucson terrain in every direction. Speak with an industry expert today to discover your home options!