[Source: Ryan Randazzo, Arizona Republic] — One hundred years ago today, cheap power gave Phoenix a jolt. Until Oct. 1, 1909, the city of 11,000 relied on gas lanterns and electricity from small wood- and gas-burning power plants. But on that day, the homes and businesses in Phoenix received their first cheap, free-flowing electricity from the Theodore Roosevelt Dam.
The power boosted development at a time when Tucson and Clifton-Morenci both had larger populations than Phoenix, and Bisbee wasn’t far behind. But buoyed with abundant electricity and water from the dam, Phoenix became the biggest city in the state by 1920, and grew to the fifth-largest city in the nation early in the 21st century.
The U.S. Reclamation Service, which ran the dam before Salt River Project took over, found cheap electricity was a side benefit. “It really solidified Phoenix as the capital of Arizona,” said Doug Kupel, a historian with the city’s legal department. “All the activity in Arizona — mining, agriculture, banking — Phoenix was at the center of that.” [Note: Read the full article at Dam power promoted era of Valley growth.]