Monday, March 14, 2016

Does a Sidewalk End in Reality?

 Does a Sidewalk End in Reality?
Howdy Pardner!

Old Town Scottsdale is a pleasant adventure for anyone – no matter your age. Restaurants, gift shops, pubs, and just a meandering sidewalk beckon the traveler to take a moment, step out of the automobile and let the feet lead the way.

No hurry while putting one foot in front of the other but simply pure enjoyment while sightseeing.

Sightseeing – hmmm, “n, the visiting of places of interest” per Webster and doesn’t that say a lot of what researchers and explorers do on a daily routine? To research this or that and then go out and physically explore to learn if that research was valid or not. To take a walk-about as the Aussie’s like to remind us is a way to reinvent ourselves – to learn about others as well.

Reinvent yourself - that's not our Happy Hour idea

While treading about the curved sidewalks of Scottsdale the visitor can’t help but notice interesting (there’s Webster) historical notices etched into the very cement below one’s feet. It is as though the sidewalk of Old Town is leading the visitor through some very important episodes of this city which was incorporated back in 1951 with a population of 2,000 but now boasts over 230,000. The cities own slogan is, “The West’s Most Western Town”. Of course, many towns and cities would probably argue that like Tucson, Tombstone, and even Los Angeles (thought we’d throw that in) but the history of Scottsdale is rich.

The Most Western of Western Towns?

The town was named after Winfield Scott – not the famous General of the Civil War but the other Winfield Scott of the Civil War (confused yet?) who served as a Chaplain but did lead Company C of the 126th New York Volunteers. Even being a fire and brimstone Baptist minister Scott knew his country – the North – needed his skills and so with the rank of Captain he led his men into many dangerous fights with the Confederate States Army. Being wounded at the Battle of Harpers Ferry, Gettysburg and finally Spotsylvania Court House Captain Scott was released from duty due to his wounds toward the end of 1864. He and his family moved a bit after the war and ended up in the west in the Salt River Valley, east of Phoenix. Winfield was so impressed he settled and started promoting the area as a wonderful place to embrace – thus the reason in in 1894 the area become known as Scottsdale.
Winfield and Helen Scott in 1900

It should be noted that in 1888 Winfield bought 640 acres in the Salt River Valley for the price of just over three dollars - that is the whopping amount of ninety-two dollars in 2016. A square mile of land for less than a foo-foo coffee at Starbucks. A good investment for the Civil War Vet and to have the town named after you too - such a deal! 

Now, the sidewalks visitors will find themselves walking atop of don’t have much in the way of describing Captain Winfield Scott or the ‘Fighting Pastor’ as the founder of Scottsdale but it does lead the curious on who actually did have something to make Scottsdale the most western of western towns.

Billy the Kid, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and many others are etched right there in the cement reminding those staring down that very famous western characters once roamed through these parts. Fascinating bit of history but that is not all there is to Old Town.

Zane Grey -  Western Writer

Doc Holiday -  Western Dentist

General Powell - Western Explorer

Kit Carson - Western Scout

A river runs through the western edge allowing the traveler a chance to feel cool and refreshed – that’s what water does for a person. Restaurants line the river-walk and along the long stretches of sidewalk stores tease the shoppers to enter and purchase everything from tourist gizmos to hand made furniture in the thousands of dollars and to some of the most marvelous jewelry available.

Time for an evening stroll along the riverfront
In 1974 Shel Silverstein’s poem, ‘Where the sidewalk ends’ was published to international acclaim and one line in particular meant something special to J and L – “Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow.”

Don't want to miss anything along the way you may regret
That is how one should take walking down a sidewalk – measure steps to ensure nothing is missed and slow enough to enjoy those things not missed.

These two fellas are taking it real easy and slow