Oct 20, 2022 - News

Meet Phoenix's first official historian

A man stands in front of a flag.

Steve Schumacher and a city of Phoenix flag from 1921. Photo: Courtesy of Steve Schumacher

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego announced this week that Steve Schumacher would be the first Mayor's Office official historian.

State of play: Because Phoenix is so much younger than major cities east of us, it's sometimes easy to forget how much fascinating history we have.

  • Valley native Schumacher, a hobbyist turned semi-professional Phoenix historian, has spent the past 10 years trying to remind us through public speaking events.
  • Now he has a formal title and a call to continue his mission.

Driving the news: You know the cliché: "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."

Details: Schumacher says he wants to develop a curriculum for elementary school students to learn about the key people and places in Phoenix's past.

  • He's also working with the city's social media team to share historic images and is helping the mayor create a guide to historic places in downtown to share with Super Bowl visitors in February.

Flashback: Schumacher developed an interest in Phoenix history about a decade ago when, on a particularly warm summer day, he wondered, "How did people live here before air conditioning?"

  • That led him to a fascinating discovery about the pioneers who settled the region in the 1800s, after it was abandoned by the Hohokam people.
  • He's been on a history kick ever since.

1 history fact to go: Central Avenue and Washington Street is generally accepted as the center of the city of Phoenix.

  • But it was actually the pioneers' fourth choice for a townsite. The original was at 36th and Van Buren streets, Schumacher tells us.
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