Arizona’s state history only goes back only to 1912. But at State Forty Eight, the state’s most prideful purveyor of Arizona clothes, know there’s been a lot of history surrounding clothes that has taken place within these state borders–even before they were any borders.
“What does an Arizona clothes store know about early Arizona history,” you might be asking yourself, “and why should I even care?” And if that’s your knee-jerk reaction, we might suggest two things: first, try decaf for a while. And second, be honest: You don’t really have anything better to do right now. So read on and learn …
“What does an Arizona clothes store know about early Arizona history,” you might be asking yourself, “and why should I even care?” For starters, we have excellent research abilities and love to learn about the origins of our great state. And second, be honest: If you’ve made it this far, you probably don’t really have anything better to do right now. So read on and learn…
What an Arizona clothes store knows about early Arizona history
10,000 BCE: It begins
The area we now know as “Arizona” was home to prehistoric paleo inhabitants. Not much going on there, clothes-wise.
2000 BCE: It continues beginning
Arizona’s earliest distinguishable culture, Cochise Man, begins farming primitive corn. Still … um … not much to talk about in the way of clothes.
1200 BCE: Even more beginning
The Four Corners area of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico becomes home to — Oh hell, let’s fast forward this thing:
1736: All that glitters
Now we’re talkin’! Native silver is first discovered near what would become the southern of Arizona. Silver jewelry becomes and more accessible, and before you know it,Werewolves become extinct in the territory. Silver remained so plentiful that a century later, when the Lone Ranger was cleaning up Texas, he was getting his bullets from Arizona. They never mention that in the TV show and movies, probably because they would owe Arizona royalties. Figures.
1824: Leave us the Beaver
American mountain men enter the region to trap beaver, with nearly 100 percent of the pelts exported out of state rather than being made into Arizona clothes, since the last thing you want to be wearing in the desert Southwest is a heavy fur coat. Plus it looked better on the beaver if you ask us.
1858: Hey, where can I get a uniform like that?
A lieutenant named Joseph Ives was exploring some of Arizona’s harder-to-get-to parts on behalf of the government. After his native guides showed him a remote canyon, he took out his logbook. “Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality,” Ives wrote from the rim of the Grand Canyon.
1862: ’Cause we’d look good in blue. Wait … gray. No, blue!
Arizona was still considered part of the New Mexico Territory, but it was making a serious go of it on its own(even had some Arizona clothes stores). So residents sent a letter to Washington saying, “Please, Mr. Lincoln, can’t we have our own territory, too? Please?” Crickets. But Ol’ Jeff Davis was listening, so we became the Confederate Territory of Arizona. (The first time the name “Arizona” made it onto a map, BTW.) “Wait!” says Lincoln, suddenly discovering the unopened requests, and in 1863 we moved up to the majors. See you never, New Mexico.
1880: Beginning a 140-year tradition
The Arizona Territory’s most famous outlaw, Curly Bill Brocius, attended a dance in the southern territory. Perhaps because someone asked him to show his invitation, he drew his gun instead and forced everyone present to take off all their clothes (Arizona clothes and otherwise) and dance for him. The tradition continues today, particularly in certain districts of Phoenix and other urban areas, where nude dancing remains popular.
1881: Now boys, isn’t this better than everybody fighting?
Fresh off their success of hosting the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the town of Tombstone formed a baseball team that competed with players from area mining camps. This was the beginning of miner league baseball. Major league uniforms were first seen here in 1929 when the big teams discovered the state as an ideal destination for spring training and nude dancing.
1886: Do whatcha gotta do
When Apache leader Geronimo surrendered and was transferred to custody at Skeleton Canyon in 1886, he was forced to turn over his weapons, most of which can be found in U.S. government museums. But even a legend’s gotta make a living, so he went on an extensive tour, making personal appearances at fairs and expositions. He soon found there was good money in the Arizona clothes off his back. And head. By selling his headgear and even buttons, he made, what was at the time, a fortune.
1891: Speaking of the clothes off his back
A visitor to Tombstone was picked up by the local law on suspicion of being naked. He was, and mounted no defense other than to say his name was O. Homo. It wasn’t his first arrest for working on his tan in public. More like his 40th. None of the other lawmen had sent him to jail, but Tombstone don’t put up with that kind of nonsense and he got 30 days. Also marriage proposals came from women as far away as California, and Mr. Homo had his picture taken by a local photographer who paid him $5 a poses, then sold prints for a dollar, which is where we get the term “buck naked.” He later disappeared, but The Los Angeles Herald of Nov. 24, 1892 suspects a local prisoner who committed suicide was in fact Mr. Homo.
1899: Howdy, ma’am. Uh, man.
Pearl Hart, known as the Bad Girl of the Arizona Territory, committed America’s last known stagecoach robbery, in Globe, with her boyfriend dressed as a man. She was. Well, so was he. But also she. She took the passengers’ money and valuables, but left each with a dollar for supper, like a true gentleman.
1900: That’s gotta hurt
Rufus Nephew was one of the most notorious horse thieves in the territory, though he was better known by his nickname, “Climax Jim.” (Settle down) Arrested in Springerville, his jailer thought he could use a bath, gave him soap and a brush and pointed him to a horse trough. Climax dropped trout and was climbing in when he noticed the fine piece of horseflesh hitched to a post nearby. He jumped from the water and onto Ol’ Paint, galloping him out of town and into the mountains — probably looking longingly and chafingly at the Arizona clothes stores he speeded past on Main Street.
1902: Crime is a drag
South of Tombstone — seriously, a bunch of this stuff happened around Tombstone — Arizona Rangers shot down wanted train robber Tom King. Taking possession of the body the undertaker surprised the lawmen by telling them, A) He wasn’t Tom King, and B) He wasn’t a he. Turns out, underneath his Arizona clothes, Tom had all along been Flora Quick, a female baddie from Clifton who was now a femme fatal.
1909: Birth of Barry
One of Arizona’s favorite sons, Barry Goldwater was born three years before his home state was even a state! His father was the founder of Goldwater’s Department Store, a well-known and very successful Arizona clothes store chain based in their hometown, Phoenix. Barry is best known as the GOP presidential candidate defeated in a landslide by Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but he’s treasured in his home state for his many contributions — including nonpolitical ones, like his photography; particularly nature scenes and portraits of Arizona native people. (Seriously, Google them. Some great snaps!)
1914: What are you wearing?
During World War I, to meet the needs of the U.S. military, Arizona became a major producer of high-quality cotton — just like you’ll find in the irresistible Arizona T-shirts you’ll see at State Forty Eight, your Arizona clothes store!
President Woodrow Wilson designated the Grand Canyon a national park, which now sees nearly 6 million visitors per year. And while the gift shops there sell lots of Arizona clothes, one of the most popular items is a shirt with a portrait of Lt. Joseph Ives, and his quote: “Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality.” The shirt has sold so well that the park service has actually been able to use the proceeds to expand the canyon.