There are times when Arizona residents feel the state is barely acknowledged. These stories put Arizona in the collective consciousness of Americans, though not always in a good way.
1881: Gunfight at the OK Corral
When the incident in Tombstone happened, it was barely a blip. The article in the Arizona Weekly Star didn't even have a headline.
If the Earps, Clantons and their respective companions had stopped there, Tombstone might not be a tourist site and dozens of movies and books would not exist.
Here is the story of the "sanguinary shooting affray" that ran in the Arizona Weekly Star, October 27, 1881:
Read more of the story, told as it unfolded in the newspapers of the day, in the Star's ebook, available free for Star subscribers who have activated their account.
1912: Arizona becomes the 48th state
It was a long road to statehood, and President Taft signed the proclamation declaring Arizona a state February 14, 1912.
This is how the Arizona Daily Star reported the proclamation on the front page February 15, 1912:
The "Valentine State" name may not have stuck around as much as first believed, but we love it anyway.
Yes, Arizona residents were referred to as "Arizonians." That didn't stick around either.
1930: The discovery of Pluto
On February 18, 1930, at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto. The search for a ninth planet had taken 25 years.
The news went public March 13, and the planets new name was announced on May 1.
From the Arizona Daily Star, March 14, 1930:
Of course, just about everyone knows that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. The discovery is important nonetheless.
1930: Eva Dugan hangs
On Feb. 21, 1930, Eva Dugan was hanged in Florence for the murder of A.J. Mathis in Tucson.
Her hanging made news mostly because she was beheaded in the process.
The Arizona Daily Star reported the event on Feb. 21, 1930:
1931: Winnie Ruth Judd and the 'Trunk Murders'
Bodies, one of them dismembered, were found in trunks at a train station in Los Angeles. The hunt was on for Winnie Ruth Judd, the woman who had shipped the trunks from Phoenix.
The bodies were discovered on October 19, 1931. The story unfolded over more than a year and didn't really end until Judd's death in 1998, when the truth that many thought had yet to be revealed died with her.
The first story ran in the Arizona Daily Star Oct. 20, 1931:
Read the Star's eBook about Winnie Ruth Judd, telling the story as it unfolded for Tucson readers in the pages of the Star.
1934: Dillinger captured in Tucson
This is a favorite of "Tales from the Morgue" readers that ran when StarNet's first "Morgue Lady," Elaine Raines, wrote this blog.
The following article ran in the Arizona Daily Star Jan. 26, 1934:
1935: Hoover (Boulder) Dam dedicated
It was meant to supply power to Nevada, but the Boulder Dam, later called the Hoover Dam, spanned the border from Arizona to Nevada.
It was dedicated Sept. 30, 1935, and an article ran in the Arizona Daily Star Oct. 1, 1935:
1964-1966: The Pied Piper of Tucson
It all began with a missing 15-year-old girl. Then two sisters went missing.
The story of Charles Schmid, a young man who seemed to draw teen girls to him and appeared to have an inflated sense of his own power, made headlines around the country.
Many of the stories were unflattering to Tucson, which was called a hayseed town. Speedway was a seedy street.
In the end, Schmid was convicted of murdering the missing girls and burying them in the desert. Others were involved, but Schmid was at the center.
Time Magazine ran an article about the case and the Arizona Daily Star reported on it on Nov. 24, 1965:
Schmid was convicted, escaped from prison several times but was always caught and died in prison in 1975 after he was attacked by several other prisoners who stabbed him numerous times.
Read the entire series of stories in Tales from the Morgue.
1967: Jet crashes into Food Giant
On December 18, 1967, an Air Force jet crashed into the rear of a grocery story in Tucson. Falling debris left destruction in the jet's path.
There were stories of courage and loss for several days.
From the Arizona Daily Star, Dec. 19, 1967:
Read more about the crash in Tales from the Morgue.
1970: Pioneer Hotel fire
The Pioneer Hotel was Tucson's first "skyscraper" when it was built in 1929. When it burned shortly before Christmas in 1970, 29 people died.
The fire was determined to be arson and 16-year-old Louis Taylor was arrested and tried for the crime. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
The case made headlines again when Taylor was released recently. He has always proclaimed he is innocent, and now there are many who believe him, though his conviction still stands.
The Arizona Daily Star's coverage of the fire began on Dec. 20, 1970:
Read more about the Pioneer Hotel Fire in the Arizona Daily Star's ebook, available for Kindle and Nook and free to Star subscribers who have activated their account.
1976: Reporter killed in car bombing
Don Bolles was a reporter working at the Arizona Republic when he went to the Hotel Clarendon in Phoenix to meet a source on June 2, 1976.
The source didn't show and Bolles went back to his car. A bomb in or under the car went off severely injuring Bolles, who died from his injuries June 13.
The bombing was linked to organized crime.
From the Arizona Daily Star, June 3, 1976:
1978: Jet crashes near University of Arizona
An air force fighter jet had engine trouble on October 26, 1978, and the pilot aimed the jet for a UA football practice field and ejected. The plane crashed into a street instead.
The jet narrowly missed Mansfeld Junior High School, causing a great deal of worry for many parents.
From the Arizona Daily Star, Oct. 27, 1978:
Read follow-up stories about the crash in Tales from the Morgue.
1981: The first female Supreme Court justice
President Ronald Reagan nominated Arizonan Sandra Day O'Connor for the U.S. Supreme Court. She was unanimously confirmed by the Senate September 21, 1981, and on September 25, 1981, became the first woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice.
The Arizona Daily Star carried an Associated Press article about her confirmation on September 22, 1981:
O'Connor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006.
1982: Battle at Miracle Valley
On October 23, 1982, a controversial church in Miracle Valley, Arizona, was the scene of a battle that ended with two church members dead, two lawmen with gunshot wounds and several more with less serious injuries.
From the Arizona Daily Star, Oct. 24, 1982:
Arizona Daily Star reporter Paul Brinkley-Rogers told much of the story of the fight in a first-person account. He and a Star photographer followed law enforcement officers to the scene as they responded to a call for help from deputies attempting to serve a warrant on some members.
From the Arizona Daily Star, Oct. 24, 1982:
1984: 'Revenge of the Nerds' is filmed on UA campus
While the motion picture "Revenge of the Nerds" made national news, the fact that it was filmed largely on the campus of the University of Arizona was not so widely know.
Even less well known is the controversy surrounding the filming. First the UA said "yes" to the filming, then "no" — it might damage the university's reputation — and then, finally, "yes."
Two Arizona Daily Star writers offered opinions.
From a commentary in the Star, Dec. 21, 1983:
There is more to the opinion, but the argument is clear.
Also from an column in the Star, Dec. 22, 1983:
Again, there is more, but again, the argument is made.
The movie was filmed on the UA campus, and whether or not the university's reputation was damaged, it has survived and done well.
1988: Gov. Evan Mecham impeached
When Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham was impeached, there was a recall election in the works and a criminal trial looming.
The recall wasn't necessary as it turned out. The Senate convicted Mecham on charges of wrongdoing and ousted him from office.
From an article in the Arizona Daily Star, April 5, 1988:
1991-1993: Biosphere II's grand experiment
On Sept. 26, 1991, a grand experiment began. Eight people were locked in the giant terrarium, Biosphere II, to live without physical contact with the outside world for two years.
Biosphere II was a miniature version of Earth with an ocean, a desert, a rainforest and the other ecosystems of Biosphere I — also known as Earth.
From the Arizona Daily Star, Sept. 26, 1991:
The crew did, indeed, remain in Biosphere II for two years, but there were hiccups along the way. A crew member, Jane Poynter, sliced off the tip of her finger and had to leave the biosphere for surgery. Oxygen had to be pumped in when the oxygen levels inside were too low for the health of the biospherians. The airlocks were also opened a time or two for samples to be removed.
On the morning of Sept. 26, 1993, the crew emerged from Biosphere II thinner and craving foods they had missed during their mission, but otherwise healthy.
From the Star, Sept. 27, 1993:
Biosphere II is no longer a completely enclosed operation. It is used for scientific research, but people come and go through the airlocks. But the experiment did give scientists insight into what may be necessary to set up such a living area on another planet if we someday are able to colonize other worlds.
1997: Arizona basketball wins the NCAA tournament
When the University of Arizona basketball team won the national title, the jubilation in Tucson could not be contained.
The team had defeated three No. 1 seeds to win the championship.
From the Arizona Daily Star, April 1, 1997:
The team hasn't won another championship. Yet. The fans remain hopeful.
1998: Linda McCartney dies in Tucson
Linda McCartney, wife of for Beatle Paul McCartney, passed away April 17, 1998. from breast cancer.
The early reports of her death said she died in Santa Barbara, California, but after reporters were unable to find a death certificate — public record in California — they turned to Tucson.
It took a while to get the truth. Death records are not public in Arizona. But the truth was eventually revealed.
From the Arizona Daily Star, April 23, 1998:
1999: Kartchner Caverns opens
When the "live" cave, Kartchner Caverns finally opened to the public for tours, phone lines were jammed as people tried to make reservations to see the caverns.
In an effort to preserve the cave, tour slots were limited and many had to wait months to see the attraction.
Kartchner Caverns opened for tours on November 13, 1999.
From the Arizona Daily Star, November 12, 1999:
2001: Post championship game riots
On April 2, 2001, The University of Arizona basketball team again played in the NCAA championship game.
They lost to Duke. Fans showed their dismay by rioting on Fourth Avenue.
From The Arizona Daily Star, April 3, 2001:
2002: UA student kills 3 faculty members
At the University of Arizona college of Nursing, a student opened fire killing three members of the faculty and then himself on October 28, 2002.
A shocked university and community mourned and memorialized the lost faculty members
From the Arizona Daily Star, October 29, 2002:
The day after the shootings, the Arizona Daily Star received a manilla envelope containing a 22-page letter written by the shooter and mailed the same day as the shootings.
2001: 12 illegal entrants die in the desert
Dozens of illegal border crossers die each year in the Southern Arizona desert. they die from exposure, dehydration and injuries. It often is barely a blip on the national consciousness, but when a dozen died in one day, it was noticed.
From the Arizona Daily Star, May 24, 2001:
2003: Aspen fire burns Summerhaven community
The community of Summerhaven, atop Mt. Lemmon, was forever changed when the Aspen fire ravaged the area in June, 2003.
The fire began on June 17, 2003, and was human-caused according the fire department. It ran through Summerhaven two days later. Some buildings survived, but the damage was severe.
From the Arizona Daily Star, June 18, 2003:
2008: Phoenix lands on Mars
The University of Arizona led the project with NASA to send the Phoenix to Mars to explore. The lander touched down May 25, 2008, launching celebrations on Earth, especially at UA.
The Phoenix "talked" to NASA and the UA scientists for several months.
From the Arizona Daily Star, May 26, 2008:
2010: Immigration bill SB 1070 hotly debated
An immigration bill authorizing police to check the immigration status of those they encounter passed the Arizona Senate and was signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
The bill was protested in Arizona and all over the country. There was talk of boycotts of Arizona by tourists and organizations who might hold conventions in the state.
From the Arizona Daily Star, April 20, 2010:
2011: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shot in head
On January 8, 2011, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was holding one of her "Congress On Your Corner" events at a Safeway Supermarket in Tucson when a gunman approached and shot her point blank in the head.
She survived, but six others were killed including a federal judge and a child. Several others were wounded.
Bystanders took the gunman down and disarmed him.
From the Arizona Daily Star website, tucson.com, January 8, 2011:
2012: Little girl missing from home
On April 21, 2012, Isabel Celis' father found her bedroom empty when he went to wake her up. He and his sons searched the home and then called police when the 6-year-old girl didn't turn up.
With each day that she wasn't found, anxiety and suspicion grew.
From the Arizona Daily Star, April 23, 2012:
Five years later, Isabel's remains were found in the desert in Pima County.
2014: Police officer shoves girl during crowd control
On March 29, 2014, following the Arizona Wildcats elite 8 loss in the NCAA tournament, crowds got unruly at Main Gate Square near the University of Arizona.
A video released after the incident on YouTube showed a young woman being shoved into a bench by a Tucson Police officer, sparking cries of police brutality.
An investigation ensued. The Arizona Daily Star reported on the results July 3, 2014:
2015: Marana police vehicle hits suspect
On February 19, 2015, a Marana police officer struck a suspect with his cruiser. In April, the dashcam video of the incident went viral.
From the Arizona Daily Star website, April 14, 2015:
Here is the dashcam video:
Tucson and the University of Arizona have sent their share of celebrities and mover and shakers out to the world.
Movies filmed in Tucson, Arizona
The following movies were filmed in or around Tucson, at least in part. Click the titles to link to the films' IMDB pages. Yes, we've probably missed some. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Aces: Iron Eagle III - 1992
Almost Famous - 2000
Arizona - 1940
Away We Go - 2009
Baraka - 1992
The Bells of St. Mary's - 1945
Bodies, Rest & Motion - 1993
Boys on the Side - 1995
Broken Arrow - 1950
Cannonball Run II - 1984
The Cannonball Run 1981
Can't Buy Me Love - 1987
Death Wish - 1974
Duel in the Sun - 1946
Easy Rider - 1969
Eating Out - 2004
El Dorado - 1966
Fast Getaway II - 1994
Fire Birds - 1990
Geronimo: An American Legend - 1993
Glory Road - 2006
Goats - 2012
Groom Lake - 2002
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral - 1957
Hawmps! - 1976
Hombre - 1967
How the West Was Won - 1962
Jesus' Son - 1999
A Kiss Before Dying - 1956
Mary Shelley's The Last Man - 2008
Lilies of the Field - 1963
Los Locos - 1997
Lost Horizon - 1937
Major League - 1989
McLintock! - 1963
The Mine with the Iron Door - 1924
Nemesis - 1992
Night of the Lepus - 1972
The Outlaw Josey Wales - 1976
Perdita Durango - 1997
The Quick and the Dead - 1987 TV movie
Red River - 1948
Revenge of the Nerds - 1984
Rio Bravo - 1959
Rio Lobo - 1970
A Star is Born - 1976
Stay Tuned - 1992
Stir Crazy - 1980
Terminal Velocity - 1994
¡Three Amigos! - 1986
Tin Cup - 1996
Tom Horn - 1980
Tombstone - 1993
The Trial of Billy Jack - 1974
The Villain - 1979
The Westerner - 1940
White Line Fever - 1975
Winchester '73 - 1950
Wings - 1927
The Wraith - 1986
The Young Animals - 1968
Young Guns II - 1990