Saturday, April 01, 2017

The Pioneer Spirit

While I was reviewing a small mountain of material about the development of early Phoenix, a city built in what many would regard as a hostile desert environment, one of the major characteristics that surfaced was the presence of a pioneer spirit. What I mean by that is that the citizens had a powerful desire to help the place prosper in a way that would make it competitive with other cities in the nation, not just those in Arizona.

They looked about for things to improve. Women's clubs collected books for a library. Saloons also served as sites for theatrical performances. Music stores began to thrive. Attention was paid not just to the basics of life but also to the uplifting aspects of civilization.

That pioneer spirit, for want of a better term, combined energy with a belief that certain standards should be respected and promoted. They believed there was such a thing as civilization and that it was worth fostering and protecting.

Were they perfect? Far from it. But their willingness to look outward and consider the good of the community was impressive. When a city drifts away from that, it is on a downward slope.

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