Arizona Centennial Celebration Rejoices in History
By Sharlot Hart, Park Guide
It was cold and blustery this past February 14th, but that did not stop staff from celebrating the 100th birthday of Arizona. In celebration of the momentous occasion, Park Guide Anne Worthington put together a program with the theme of “Why History Matters!” And the show had to go on.
The celebratory gathering focused on research, science, history, and the special people whose contributions helped document the nation's 48th state, up to 1912. Speakers included Michael Amundson, professor of history at Northern Arizona University; David Wilcox, senior research anthropologist for the Museum of Northern Arizona; and Steve Ayers, president of the Camp Verde Historical Society.
Despite the weather, turnout was high, and staff had a great time also. Employees from across divisions helped out in many ways: interpreters aided visitors with the commemorative centennial stamp, and performed living history; maintenance helped with logistics and decorating; volunteers provided cake; and other staff came out (with jackets on!) to support the event.
The program was in memory of the late Dr. James Byrkit, historian and native of Clarkdale, AZ. Dr. Byrkit was an instructor in the Southwest Studies program of Northern Arizona University, and dedicated his career to researching and publishing books and articles on the history of Arizona. The event was in partnership with the Camp Verde Historical Society and was free of charge.