The man behind Scottsdale


You may have noticed the city’s Welcome to Scottsdale signs and wondered, “Why the name Scottsdale? Is it named after a Scott or a Dale?”

U.S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott was the area’s first land developer. In 1888, he purchased 640 acres in what’s now downtown Scottsdale for the bargain price of $3.50 an acre. Along with his wife and his brother, the trio settled in to what was then called Orangedale, owing to the extensive citrus groves planted by the brothers. Able farmers, they also grew grapes, peanuts, figs, almonds, and an abundance of other crops.

An early visionary, Scott used his influence to recruit educated settlers from the East and Midwest to help him in his efforts to establish a community in the desert. Drawn by a favorable climate, beautiful scenery, and the potential for a fresh start, these settlers helped build the area’s early framework. Not long after, in 1894, the town’s moniker was officially changed to Scottsdale, after its founder.


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