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91-year-old barber and resident reflects on arizona centennial

Tyler Boyle

The state of Arizona has now been part of the United States for 100 years and has come a long way from what it used to be.

What used to be an agricultural state known for cattle, copper, citrus, cotton and climate, the East Valley is now surprisingly populated. Mesa has a larger population than Miami, Cleveland and Atlanta.

  Joe Davis, owner of Joe’s Barbershop, has lived in Arizona for 90 years and has witnessed Arizona grow.

He said that Mesa used to be farmland that later turned into citrus fields.  

He said that the ground was so rocky that they used to drill a hole and light a stick of dynamite to make a hole for a place to plant an orange tree and would dig a trench to it for water.

In 1929, Mesa had a population of 7,400. Now, in 2012, Mesa is the largest suburb in the United States with a population of 439,041. Most of the citrus fields have turned into neighborhoods.

Davis prefers the old version of Mesa saying, “It’s too big now, everyone is go, go, go…I liked it better when it was smaller. People went slower and you were acquainted with more people.”   

Arizona’s Centennial reminds people of the past and allows for people to look to our state’s future. Rhett Connolly, who studies business, has big hopes for Arizona. He, “…hopes California sinks into the ocean so Arizona can have beaches.

“I hope Mesa doesn’t grow too big I like it the way it is and I don’t want skyscrapers everywhere,” he added, on a more serious note.

Davis said, “It means a lot; Arizona is where I have made my livelihood.  I have a brother who lives in California.  I wouldn’t move to California for nothing.”

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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