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BULLEThistory archive
History Archive Photo
Senator Clarence Carpenter greets Vonda Kay Van Dyke, Miss America 1965, at the State Capitol in Phoenix.

© Arizona State Archives


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Editor's Note:
In February 2012, Arizona will celebrate 100 years of statehood, and Arizona Highways will publish a special Centennial issue. Leading up to that milestone, we're presenting a 10-part history of the state. This is Part 6.
Arizona: 1962-1971
In Arizona's sixth decade of statehood, Lake Powell and Arcosanti were born, the London Bridge moved to Lake Havasu City, and Vonda Kay Van Dyke of Phoenix was named Miss America.

By Jana Bommersbach

Arizona's relatively small population didn't keep the state from topping the charts in law, politics, women's rights, art and beauty during this decade.

The Republican standard-bearer for president of the United States emerged from the nation's 48th state in 1964. Barry Morris Goldwater, who had entered politics on the Phoenix City Council in the 1940s and then went on to serve in the U.S. Senate, was running on the slogan "In your heart, you know he's right." Many supporters even wore T-shirts that spelled out Goldwater's name in chemical shorthand — AUH20 — but "The Father of Conservatism" was soundly defeated in the election by Lyndon Johnson.

Meanwhile, Arizona made legal headlines with the groundbreaking "Miranda" case. Attorneys John Frank and John Flynn appealed the 1963 rape conviction of Ernesto Miranda, arguing that he had the right to know he could remain silent during interrogation and request an attorney. On June 13, 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, creating the historic "Miranda warning," which law enforcement officers are required to read during arrests.
Miranda v. Arizona was the second major Supreme Court decision of the decade to affect Arizona. After years of fighting California for a share of Colorado River water, the high court ruled in Arizona's favor in 1963. Congress then enacted the Colorado Basin Act, which authorized the construction of the Central Arizona Project. It remains one of the most significant legal decisions in Arizona history.

Another water milestone occurred on September 13, 1963, when the last bucket of concrete was poured into Glen Canyon Dam, thus giving birth to Lake Powell.

While water may have taken center stage in the early '60s, Arizona's landscape played a major role in films. Among other movies, John Ford's Oscar winner How the West Was Won was filmed in the state. The West itself was front and center in 1965, as well. That's when artists Joe Beeler, John Hampton, George Phippen and Charlie Dye met at the Oak Creek Tavern in Sedona to pay tribute to the history of the real American West. They formed the Cowboy Artists of America, a group that has become a cherished institution, holding an annual sale and show at the Phoenix Art Museum.

As those artists looked back, a visionary architect named Paolo Soleri looked forward, choosing Arizona as the place for his experimental eco-city, Arcosanti. Established in 1970, the development, which is located 70 miles north of Phoenix, is a type of "urban laboratory" that draws artists, architects and innovators from around the world.

Back in the mainstream, a couple of Arizona women were making headlines. Lorna Lockwood was elected chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, making her the first woman in the nation to head a state's high court, while Vonda Kay Van Dyke of Phoenix was named Miss America. She also won the "Miss Congeniality" title.

In a headline at least as big, developer Robert McCulloch paid $2.46 million for the London Bridge, had it dismantled, moved from England and rebuilt at his development at Lake Havasu City. It was dedicated on October 10, 1971, with the High Mayor of London in attendance. In the years since, it's become one of Arizona's top tourist attractions.

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