5 facts about Arizona as it celebrates 105 years of statehood

Feb 14, 2017, 4:30 AM | Updated: 12:30 pm

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PHOENIX — At 105 years old, Arizona is still a kid when it comes to statehood.

The Arizona territory was admitted to the Union on Feb. 14, 1912, about a month after New Mexico. Only Alaska and Hawaii are younger. That’s pretty common knowledge.

But maybe what isn’t so well known are these five facts about the Grand Canyon State:

Plenty big

Sure, there are states that are bigger than Arizona area-wise — Alaska, Texas, California and Montana, to name a few. But Arizona is one of 11 states bigger than all of the United Kingdom. The blog puts Arizona at No. 6 on the list. lists Arizona’s size at 114,066 square miles, while puts the land area at 113,595 square miles.

Wikipedia has the United Kingdom at 94,058 square miles.

This would be the time to make a tea joke, but we can’t think of one. Does tea stunt your growth like coffee? Oh, there’s one!

(Public Domain Maps)

<small?(Public Domain Images)

Camels on the job in Arizona

Yes, it’s absolutely true that camels once roamed the southwestern desert. How’d they get here? Good question, here’s the answer: the 19th-century U.S. Army.

According to the Smithsonian website, in 1857, the U.S. Army brought 75 camels into the country from overseas for “military purposes,” most likely as transport.

Eventually, they were sold off to privately owned businesses in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. writes that in 1891, camels scared a herd of cattle, which led to a stampede near Harrisburg, Arizona.

Now, camels are relegated to various zoos in the state.

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

Penny for your thoughts on Capitol dome

The fun folks at noted that the copper dome on the Arizona State Capitol building was the equivalent of nearly 5 million pennies. That is a lot of loose change.

The four-story building at 17th Avenue and Washington Street originally served as the territorial capitol from 1901 until statehood. That particular building is now home to the Arizona Capitol Museum, but that shiny, pretty dome is what is most Arizonans think of when they hear the words “Arizona State Capitol.”

(Facebook Photo)

(Facebook Photo)

Carefree Sundial

Hmm, look at that, there’s a big ol’ sundial right up the road from Phoenix in Carefree. Neat. And at 35 feet high with a 75-foot projection, it is largest sundial in America.


The sundial, which points to the North Star, is made of copper and steel and went up in 1959.

Interesting tidbit: Solar local time is 27.7 minutes behind Mountain Standard Time. That’s what the plaque on the structure has stamped on it for all the world to see.

(Instagram Photo)

(Instagram Photo)

Some slithering sleuthing

To put it plainly, there are a lot of rattlesnakes in Arizona. It’s the desert, blah, blah. Still — the Arizona Game and Fish Department says there are 13 kinds of rattlesnakes in this state — 13. That is more than any other state in the union, to which those other states say, we are not jealous about that at all.

We will not creep you out with a ton of terrifying venomous Arizona serpent facts, just this one: the Western diamondback rattlesnake can grow to be as long as 66 inches. There are adults short than this.

Interesting tidbit: That rattling sound is not made because there is anything inside the tail. The tail is hollow; the noise is created when those rounded tail segments vibrate.

(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Photo)

(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Photo)

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5 facts about Arizona as it celebrates 105 years of statehood