The Fall (and Rise?) of Notorious Train Robber Burt Alvord

Burt Alvord

Excerpt from Arizoniana by Marshall Trimble, the state’s official historian. Burt Alvord was a big, strapping, swarthy-looking char­acter with a bald pate and an I.Q. that was said to be considerably less than his age, which was about 30. Alvord did have a few positive attributes. He was usually cheerful, had a sense of humor and was a mighty popular fellow in Cochise County … [Read more...]

The Fourth Goes Bang in Taylor

Firing the Anvil, Taylor

TAYLOR -- The people who reside in this community don't have to worry about getting a wake-up call to make sure they don't miss the Independence Day festivities. The Taylor Fire Department takes care of that. Starting at 4 a.m. every July 4, the department conducts an annual ritual known as "firing the anvil." It's a simple procedure -- get an anvil and some gunpowder, … [Read more...]

Do Valley Homes Have Fewer Basements?


Excerpt from Valley 101: The Great Big Book of Life, a collection of Clay Thompson’s columns for The Arizona Republic. (Originally published May 30, 1999.) Q:My wife says there are no basements here because there are no tornadoes, so we don’t need a place to hide. I say it’s because the ground is too hard. Who’s right? A: First of all, your question is flawed by asserting … [Read more...]

History, Theories Surrounding the Lost Dutchman Mine

Superstition Mountains

Excerpt from Arizona Adventure by Marshall Trimble, the state’s official historian. Arizona's most notorious lost treasure story for both believers and otherwise takes place in the mysterious Superstition Mountains. History of the Lost Dutchman Mine The rugged range of mountains east of the Salt River Valley encom­passes some of the most breathtaking, untouched … [Read more...]