Scottsdale’s first real estate agent, tourism manager and chaplain turns 170 today. Winfield Scott, Scottsdale’s founder and namesake, died in 1910, but the anniversary of his birthday will be celebrated Tuesday at a party at the Scottsdale Historical Museum.
The free celebration will include five speakers who will discuss Scottsdale and Arizona history, as well as a display of memorabilia, including a bronze statue of Scott, his wife Helen, and her mule, Maude.
It will also feature birthday cake, lemonade and a lesson in Scottsdale pride for residents of all ages, said Roberta Pilcher, the event’s organizer.
“It’s not only to inform, but to make the residents of Scottsdale — new and former — a part of our history,” Pilcher said.
Scott made a down payment in 1888 of 50 cents an acre for a section of land. That land became Scottsdale.
He also jump-started Scottdale’s tourism business by encouraging travelers to stay for free on his property, said Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian.
In addition to being business-savvy, Scott was a generous, benevolent man whose determination made him a favorite among residents, said Trimble. They even demanded that the city be named Scottsdale instead of Orangedale, after the citrus fruit that Scott brought to the valley.
As a Civil War veteran and army chaplain, Scott also brought religion and temperance to the Valley. Scott would hate the bars in Old Town Scottsdale, Trimble jokes. But he adds that Scott allowed different religious sects to hold services at the chapel he established in town.
“He just thought, ‘We don’t need any church rivalries here, we’re all in this little town together,’ ” Trimble said.
Although Martini Ranch and Sugar Daddy’s might make Scott cringe, he would be pleased with Scottsdale’s growth, Trimble said.
“He would have to be proud. Look at what a great city developed here,” Trimble said.
Scott’s birthday party
What: Free event with five speakers and refreshments to commemorate the life of Winfield Scott, Scottsdale’s founder.
When: Noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Pepperwood Building, 7340 Scottsdale Mall (just north of the Scottsdale Historical Museum near the southeast mall entrance at Main Street and Brown Avenue)